East Texas Baptist University’s Learning and Leading classes hosted Fall Festivals for four of Marshall ISD’s elementary schools including David Crockett Elementary, Sam Houston Elementary, William B. Travis Elementary, and Price T. Young Elementary on Monday, October 8 to serve almost a thousand elementary students and their families.
“It’s a great opportunity for kids to come and see college kids serving them,” ETBU freshman Sam Herrod shared. “I think it’s good for the families to see us serving and being the hands and feet of Jesus. It’s what ETBU is all about: wholesome, family fun. We are bringing the community together and creating unity.”
More than 400 ETBU students from 21 Learning and Leading sections set up booths for families in the community to play games and win prizes. The festivals provided an opportunity for ETBU freshmen to practice the knowledge and skills taught in their Learning and Leading course.
“ETBU teaches the Servant Leadership Model, which emphasizes collaboration with others. The Fall Festivals provide an opportunity for our ETBU students to serve MISD by putting into practice what they’ve learned in class,” ETBU Learning and Leading Coordinator Shelby Thomas expressed. “I hope that students understand the importance of serving even more after seeing families enjoy the Fall Festival. It gives them the opportunity to interact with what is now their community.”
The Learning and Leading course is offered for freshmen and transfer students during their first semester at the University. Taught by an ETBU faculty or staff member, each section meets in class for an hour once a week. In addition, each section participates in a service project during the semester. The primary purpose of the class is to acclimate students to the college academic experience and examine the leadership attributes that will assist them in their future career calling.
“It’s amazing to be able to grow these young students into adults, to help them succeed at ETBU, and to serve the community,” ETBU Assistant Chemistry Professor Scott Morris said. “They get to see what the community is like and what it means to pour into the community. As young adults, it is important they begin serving now so that when they leave college, they know how to approach investing in their future communities and interact with people in a positive way.”
The Fall Festivals are part of the Learning and Leading curriculum. Through the Fall Festivals at MISD elementary schools, students learn to coordinate with one another to determine which booths they will create, the supplies needed, and to delegate tasks.
“The candy and the games are really exciting for the kids, but it’s about more than that,” ETBU freshman Haley Wheat commented. “The Fall Festival creates a sense of community among the kids and families, as well as the students and staff. The parents get to meet the students, who they have been working with their kids in the schools all semester, and we get to know the parents of kids we’ve really bonded with. ETBU’s Learning and Leading class has provided a special opportunity for us as students, and I’m excited to keep serving the community even after this class is over.”