MILLEDGEVILLE — Georgia College senior Audrey Smith’s belief in the ‘American dream’ has inspired her to help young citizens realize that dream through the power of education. After graduating in May as a double major in political science and Spanish, Smith will provide education and learning resources to a low-performing school for the next two years as a corps member for the Teach For America (TFA) organization.
“My motivation for applying to the organization is not because I want to go into education. I believe in the ‘American dream,’ and that really comes from my political science studies. I think as a society of Americans, we’re hypocrites,” she said. “We say this is a land of hope and opportunity for new life, but in order to take advantage of that opportunity, society says we have to have a great education. We’re opening doors to immigrants from all across the world, but we’re not being truthful of that hope; we have to be fair. My motivation in applying and joining the TFA movement is because I do believe in keeping the dream alive.”
TFA’s mission is to close the achievement gap between low-income children and their wealthier peers. By developing committed leaders and placing them in classrooms across the nation, the organization works toward eliminating education inequality. TFA recruits recent college graduates and professionals of all backgrounds to teach for two years in urban and rural public schools. In the 2012-13 school year, more than 10,000 corps members are teaching 750,000 students.
Twenty-one year-old Stephen Hundley is also preparing for his TFA experience after he passed the rigorous application process. He will graduate in May from Georgia College as a English literature major.
“My final interview was in November and I was nervous about it. It’s a really competitive program, but really rewarding. You can tell [TFA] works so hard; the minute you’re on board, the support starts,” he said. “There are locations all across the country and you give them preferences of where and what you would like to teach.”