For 10 kids from rural Mississippi, the trip to the nation’s capital last June was a dream come true—and the first of many.
After graduation, Natalie Ginsburg ’07 joined Teach for America, a program that recruits recent college graduates to teach in rural and urban public schools. She was assigned to Sherard Elementary School, in Sherard, Miss., in the Delta region near the Arkansas border. Most of her students had never left the Delta or flown on an airplane, Ginsburg recalls, but they were excited about the election of President Barack Obama. She had the idea to show them where that history was taking place. Ginsburg wondered, “If I don’t take them now, who will?
Ginsburg set about organizing and raising the money necessary for a four-day trip to Washington, D.C. With support and donations from parents, local church groups, and the Corps Member Education Foundation, Ginsburg raised the $15,000 needed to fund the trip in June. Students chipped in $150 each, and additional money came from many donors, including parents, church groups, Colby alumni, TFA members, and the students’ families.
The four days in the nation’s capital included a tour of the White House, the Washington Monument, the WWII memorial, and a performance at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The trip also included a visit with Mississippi Congressman Bennie Thompson, a tangible inspiration to many of the students. Thompson spoke to them about his childhood in a small Mississippi town, and he said hard work and obeying his elders helped him be successful. Ginsburg said the meeting was a wonderful opportunity, “showing the students that they too can go and do the same great things anywhere some day.”
Ginsburg is one of nearly 100 Colby graduates who have joined Teach for America. She may have found her calling. After her TFA stint was up, Ginsburg traded the Mississippi classroom for one in Texas, at KIPP Austin College Prep, a charter school.
She hopes the legacy she leaves with her former students will be that they will “dream bigger dreams” as they consider their futures.
—Alexandra Desaulniers ’11