PHOTO CAPTIONS: (Above) A look at the teacher’s lounge space created for McBain middle and high school teachers. (Below) Teacher Education student Jenny Zuniga, a freshman from Cadillac, worked with fellow Ferris State University students in the Aspiring Educators of the Michigan Education Association to create a teacher’s lounge for McBain middle and high school instructors. Fundraising, donations and an MEA grant supported this renovation, which was accomplished in five visits during the Spring 2019 semester at Ferris.
Members of the Aspiring Educators of the Michigan Education Association chapter at Ferris State University demonstrated initiative and ingenuity to benefit teachers in a northern Michigan school district.
Spencer Tenney, of Ludington, a senior in the Teacher Education program, is president of the Ferris registered student organization and heads up the AEMEA state organization. Tenney said student chapters around Michigan have been doing outreach for school districts with needs, and they decided to make their offer of support.
“Chad Williams, who was the UniServ director for the MEA in this region as our work began, knew that McBain middle and high school teachers would benefit from the addition of a collaborative lounge,” Tenney said. “We had done other group volunteer activities and decided, as a group, to renovate a classroom and provide this gathering place.”
Financial resources for the project came through a $300 fundraising effort by the Ferris AEMEA group, and a $500 grant that the McBain Education Association applied for and received for this work. Tenney said those monies were sufficient to acquire the materials and paint to give the room a new look and add upgrades like couches, a conference table and counter space.
“We feel our experience, as college students who get by on simple budgets, was beneficial for this work,” Tenney said. “We took down a whiteboard from the wall and replaced some well-worn cork board, to create a space for messages. We were able to get the conference table from Ferris’ Physical Plant department, as it was being removed from an office on campus.”
More than two dozen students took part in weekend trips to work in McBain that began Saturday, March 30 and their work was completed on Saturday, April 14.
“A number of teachers from McBain would stop by while we were in the building, saying they wanted to meet us and express their appreciation,” Tenney said. “We saw this project as a unique opportunity to help teachers, and in turn, to benefit their students.”
There was an open house at the school on Friday, April 26, to show off the renovated space.
“We were invited to that event, which was a great chance to meet up again with members of the school’s faculty,” Tenney said. “Everyone who participated in this project just wanted to give back to these teachers, and provide them a space where they can hold potluck events and plan their work more effectively.”