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WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

EdRising Club aspires to rise up among WA’s clubs

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Grace Hsu
EdRising at the 1st Annual Massachusetts Educators RISING Conference at UMass Lowell

Two teachers stand in front of a brightly decorated classroom. They point to letters on a slideshow as voices echo the sounds of the vowels, their voices little and eager. However, one of the teachers is a high school student, volunteering as a teacher’s assistant for an hour after school. In addition to competing in education-themed competitions, this is what EdRising strives to do.

EdRising is a new national organization that has recently been brought to WA this year. EdRising aims to aid young people interested in an education career and recruit diverse, bright, creative, and intelligent people for teaching careers. Originally founded as Future Educators of America in 1937 by the National Education Association, the organization strives to help the worldwide teacher shortage by inspiring the youth to explore education careers.

The Future Educators of America Club chose to rebrand itself and become EdRising in order to differentiate the two: EdRising is more geared towards fueling interest in the education field through their annual conference, while Future Educators of America’s goal was to help equip future teachers with the skills they need to be successful with hands-on volunteering.

While the transition from Future Educators of America to EdRising happened in 2016 for the national organization, at WA, the transition has been fairly recent. Additionally, the advisor of the club had changed, with history teacher Kimberly Sears as the new and current advisor. Senior Caroline Mahoney, a prominent member of the club, explained how the transition might have affected the club membership.

“I think there was some confusion with the two clubs and people thinking they’re the same thing, because [Dean Betsy Murphy] was finding that a lot of kids that were attending Future Educators in America didn’t actually want to be teachers,” Mahoney said. “They just wanted the volunteer work, whereas, we want to go to other schools and be teaching assistants because we want to be teachers.”

Currently, the club only has about seven members, all of which are seniors. The club meets every other Tuesday in room 150, where they talk about their future career plans, and prepare for the EdRising regional conference, which takes place at the University of Massachusetts Lowell every year. The conference includes both workshops and competitions, much like the competitions of large organizations like HOSA and DECA, and will happen in March of 2024.

The competitions involve lesson plan creation, public speaking, creative lectures, children’s literature, and ethical dilemmas, among many other categories. The workshops revolve around similar topics, where attendees can broaden various skills such as leadership. Mahoney emphasizes the novelty of the conference.

“[The members in the club] are really like the guinea pigs [for the organization in Massachusetts],” Mahoney said. “We don’t know anything, but I think [we are going to do] lesson plan simulations. So we pretend we’re teachers and make lesson plans and then at these competitions, like DECA, we go and we present our lesson plan and our approach to whatever grade we want to teach, and then they score that based on capability. Right now we’re preparing for that. But again, it’s so hard because we really don’t know much.” 

The group first learned of the EdRising conference last year, where each of the club members participated in workshops but did not compete. The conference took place at UMass Lowell, and was the first of its kind in Massachusetts, as EdRising is still expanding across states. Nine schools in the Greater Boston area went to test out what the teaching career could be like.

“We went in late March last year,” Mahoney said. “And it was very last minute, like a week before [Dean Betsy] Murphy just sent out an announcement saying, ‘Oh, do you want to go?’ So we went and they were also in the very early stages. The organization as a whole is not new, but bringing the organization to Massachusetts in the surrounding area, is very new.”

The conference is what actually sparked the idea to start the EdRising Club.  Murphy had reached out to the seven students who attended the conference and suggested starting the club in place of the Future Educators of America Club.

“Future Educators of America was actually a lot different than what we’re doing now, because that was more focused towards getting out of the building and going to volunteer at schools,” Mahoney said. “EdRising’s goals this year are to prepare for the competitions in March.”

The club is currently reaching out to a representative of the organization who lives in Connecticut. She gives advice on expanding the chapter and running the club. Meanwhile, at WA, Murphy is a big advocate for making the club possible.

“[Murphy] really pushed and advocated for this,” Mahoney said. “She’s definitely playing her power trying to make this bigger, and I think she wants it to be as big as DECA someday.”

The club has big aspirations and hopes to expand its club activities to volunteering in classrooms and inviting guest speakers. They hope to overcome challenges and make a difference at WA.

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About the Contributor
Grace Hsu, Features Editor
Hi, my name is Grace Hsu and I am a sophomore as well as one of the features editors of the Ghostwriter. This is my second year on the paper and I joined because I like to read and write. In my free time, I like to listen to Taylor Swift and spend time with my friends and family. I also swim competitively and I love to go to the beach. I'm looking forward to another great year!

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