AmeriCorps Week is an annual year that recognizes the commitment of AmeriCorps members and alums by highlighting the extraordinary impact AmeriCorps makes across our nation every day. AmeriCorps Week is a time to salute AmeriCorps members and alums for their service, thank AmeriCorps community partners, and communicate AmeriCorps impact on communities and on the lives of those who serve.
This year, AmeriCorps Week is celebrated across the country on March 5-12.
General McLane School District would like to salute our two AmeriCorps on staff, Lauren Sipple (Edinboro Elementary) and Sean McPherson (McKean Elementary). These individuals work 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. daily throughout the entire school year.
Sipple is currently certified in Elementary Education K-6. She also earned a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in writing from the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. Over the years, she has spent a lot of time impacting the lives of young people in various school and church settings, as well as getting to know cultures locally and around the world. For example, Sipple said she was blessed to be awarded the Vira I. Heinz Scholarship in 2007 to study abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland and then volunteered on two mission trips to Zimbabwe in 2011 and Nicaragua in 2012.
Outside of working for the AmeriCorps program at Edinboro Elementary, the Waterford resident leads a youth group of teenagers at her church and serves with Erie Young Adults, a local ministry group for 18-35 year olds.
“Lauren has been a tremendous asset to our k-2 staff and children,” said Edinboro Elementary Principal Randy White. “She runs intervention groups daily for both reading and math. Our students that need extra small group instruction are getting it on a daily basis from Lauren.”
McPherson graduated from Edinboro University with a degree in Middle Level Education and a focus in Social Studies. Before joining AmeriCorps, he worked at VisionQuest Lee Prep Academy, a placement for at-risk juveniles. He was born and raised in State College, PA and now lives with his wife Anne in Saegertown.
“Sean remains valuable asset to McKean Elementary,” said McKean Elementary Principal Michael Getz. “He provides reading and math support to students in grades 1-4, and he also works with our before school tutoring program. This support would not have been available to our students without him.”
Q&A with Lauren Sipple & Sean McPherson
Why did you get involved in teaching?
Sipple: Teaching has always been a passion, as well as an innate ability of mine. As a child I was constantly playing school with my friends or dolls. One year I even put together an entire kindergarten curriculum for one of my dolls. As I got older it only made sense to pursue teaching, so the summer before I attended University of Pittsburgh at Bradford I decided to major in Elementary Education, as well as writing, my other passion. Since then I have dedicated a lot of years teaching in a variety of different settings. I love to work with children—helping them learn, grow, and challenge them in reaching their potential.
McPherson: I wanted to become a teacher because I know how important education is to every child from every background in our country. Teaching is a way to create a better world.
Why get involved through AmeriCorps?
Sipple: When I heard that Americorps offered opportunities to both serve and teach, I knew that it would be a great fit. Being connected in the community has always been important to me because it gives me the opportunity to reach out and make a difference in the lives of others. What better way to do that than through a vocation that I feel well suited for—education. Not only that, but as a Keystone SMILES Americorps member, I have the chance to build rapport in the community, gain experience, and advance myself educationally.
McPherson: AmeriCorps provided me with an opportunity to work with students individually and in small groups to help them meet their education goals.
What about your involvement in AmeriCorps has been rewarding?
Sipple: Since being involved in AmeriCorps, I have had the chance to make an impact in my community, while gaining valuable experiences as an educator. It’s such a great feeling to make a difference in the lives of young people, even if for just a short period of time.
McPherson: The most rewarding part of AmeriCorps has been my placement here in the General McLane School District. The staff have all been friendly and supportive, and the students have been a joy.
What has been your favorite memory / experience working for the program at GM?
Sipple: I absolutely love serving with AmeriCorps at Edinboro Elementary and have really enjoyed getting to know the staff and students here. Everyone here is so friendly and welcoming, always willing to lend a smile, a helping hand, or a good laugh that comes from the joy of teaching. The students I work with have such radiant personalities too, and they remind me why I pursued teaching to begin with. My favorite memory after I leave will probably be the times I’ve spent with the staff and students, getting to know them and gaining a greater love for learning together.
McPherson: It doesn’t happen every day, but when I have the opportunity to mix learning and fun, I take it advantage of it. There have been wonderful moments this school year when I have seen students laughing and playing together as they are learning — nothing beats those moments.
To learn more about the AmeriCorps program, http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps“>please visit their website.