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Erin Peacock ('07)
Teach for America corps member
When Erin read statistics on the Teach for America Web site about the educational disparity that exists in the United States, she got mad. Then she decided to be the change. The JMU psychology major applied to TFA, which recruits outstanding college graduates to teach in some of the nation’s most disadvantaged schools, and was assigned to a school in South Bronx, New York. She describes her teaching experience as a rollercoaster, requiring all the creative skills and patience she could muster. “I am so proud that I stuck through the hard first months to see the end results,” she says. When her second-grade students entered her classroom only 25 percent were performing on grade level. Now, 90 percent of her class has achieved that goal. In the process, she has developed a real attachment to her students: “They have really taught me the true meaning of unconditional love,” Erin says. “I may not be changing the world, but I know I’m changing the lives of my 20 second graders,” she says. And for Erin, there was no better place to start.
“The change I wish to see in the world is for students, no matter what their background, to have the chance to receive an excellent education. Having an education is what opens doors and leads to other opportunities.”