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ETBU serves Marshall Community through fall festivals

October 5, 2021

East Texas Baptist University’s Learning and Leading classes hosted Fall Festivals for five of Marshall ISD’s elementary schools, including David Crockett Elementary, Sam Houston Elementary, William B. Travis Elementary, Price T. Young Elementary, and Marshall Early Childhood Center School on Monday, October 4 to serve elementary students and their families.

“I am thrilled we are able to host Fall Festivals again this year and invest in our Marshall community,” ETBU Learning and Leading Coordinator Vanessa Johnston expressed. “Part of our mission at ETBU is to prepare our students to be Christian servant leaders. Having the opportunity for our students to collaborate with each other to create booths in class and then serve the families of Marshall ISD by hosting the Fall Festivals allows our students to see what an impact they can make in a community through service. Our hope is that this experience not only positively affects the families of Marshall ISD, but also our students, who will gain an understanding of the importance of service and investing in the communities around them once they graduate.”

More than 400 ETBU students from 21 Learning and Leading sections and three freshman honors 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.

"I was born and raised in Marshall, Texas, and I came to this school [Price T. Young Elementary] when I was young, so it means a lot to come back here and see the community that I grew up in,” ETBU freshman finance accounting major Salome Pineda said. “It's so nice to help the kids out and have some fun. We just give an hour or two of our time and we could be making their week, month, or maybe even their year. It really means a lot to me. I love Marshall so much."

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.

"Learning and Leading is a great way to get our students engaged, and give them an opportunity to get to know each other,” ETBU Director of Financial Aid Linda Slawson said. “What I have found is that when students enter college, they think they come with so many leadership skills, but when they talk to others, they find that there is really so much more for them to learn. Helping out with Fall Festival is awesome outreach for ETBU students to show the community what we are all about and to use our Christian stewardship to serve others and love on these students. We take every opportunity to engage with others and to try to show Christ's love. That's what we are excited about doing."

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.

"I have taught Learning and Leading for the last seven years and the big idea of this course is to prepare and raise up Christian servant leaders regardless of their major or vocation," ETBU Assistant Professor of Athletic Training and Learning and Leading Instructor Michael Rich said. "We talk about what servant leadership is and look at scripture to see how Jesus modeled it, and these are good practices. But, at Fall Festival, our students got the opportunity to display, model, and be obedient to what Christ has called us to do which is serve others. What a great opportunity to not only serve alongside our ETBU students, but to also serve and show God's love to the community of Marshall."