Junior Achievement came full circle for education alumna Brooke Kennedy when three PBA freshmen came to her public school classroom for Junior Achievement teaching.
Kennedy graduated from Palm Beach Atlantic last spring and is a third-grade teacher at Palm Beach Public School. Seeing PBA students Lindsey McAllister, Jordyn Plewke and Kaylee Aslinger enter her classroom brought Kennedy’s education experience “full circle,” she said. Junior Achievement is a program that allows volunteers to come into classrooms and give lessons to help prepare students for their futures. The three PBA students taught Kennedy’s class about economics, including saving, spending and donating.
Kennedy said Junior Achievement “got our feet wet” and “helped us decide if this was the right career for us.” Through the program, JA teachers show a video lesson to the students, give a short social studies lesson and play a game with them. Kennedy recalled that being given the teaching materials allowed her to “start into the field without having to jump right in.”
As a teacher, Kennedy now sees JA from a new perspective, describing it as “an extra enrichment activity for the students.” She said “they loved it” and wanted McAllister, Plewke and Aslinger to “stay all day.” Watching the three students interact with her class made Kennedy “reflect on her appreciation for her professors at PBA,” she said.
Kennedy said, “I am so thankful for the professors at PBA because a lot of the things from class that I thought wouldn’t be important are 100 percent important.” She said the two semesters of student teaching at PBA allowed her to compare two very different environments, a semester at a public school and a private Christian school.
Student Jordyn Plewke remarked that being in a PBA alumna’s classroom made the experience more meaningful because “she has been in our place and successfully began teaching.” Plewke said “learning about teaching is nowhere near the same as teaching in a classroom,” and she appreciates the opportunity to gain real-world experience.
Kennedy said she was honored to have PBA students come to her classroom and grateful for her PBA education.
Photo: Three PBA students visit alumna Brooke Kennedy’s Palm Beach Public School classroom for Junior Achievement teaching.