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New pathway comes to GCHS

Dec. 15—GREENSBURG — Family and Consumer Science Teacher at GCHS Heather Comer has been named a Celia B. Godsil "Grants in Place" Fellow for 2023 by the Rural Schools Collaborative. A great professional credit to Comer, but this provides an opportunity for local high school students to graduate from high school and walk right onto a career working professionally with children and their early education goals.

The Florida native with four children and part owner of a business, took it upon herself to study her way through more than 400 hours of Early Childhood Education classes so that she earn the distinction and begin a "grow your own" curriculum preparing young high school graduates the "hands-on" experience and learned abilities for children in a key age.

As a Fellow of the of the Celia B. Godsil Initiative, Comer will be using her new accreditation and a $2,500 grant to address the local problem of the lack of students entering the teaching profession. Her curriculum will provide students the ability to overcome the literacy problem of "quarantined" children who might might have missed the literacy boat due to the pandemic.

Comer's first goal will be to place 60 high school juniors and seniors in preschool through first grade classrooms around the community getting the children excited about reading and seeing themselves in a book.

The project will begin with the newly placed fresh graduates mentoring with pre-school or first grade students who will dictate a story and be printed with that child's drawings of the tale. A book will be provided to each student, and every nine weeks the mentors will work with each child to produce a "manuscript," printed professionally in a bound book.

During this time, students in the project will invite a local children's author to visit the students and sign a copy of their book for each. The high school mentors and students will host "Muffins and Manuscripts" on the completion of each book.

Comer was chosen for the Fellowship from more than 900 candidates across the nation and will represent 200 educators from the Great Lakes and Indiana region alone for the opportunity.

"This is a great opportunity for our students, but we are very proud of Heather for this accomplishment," GCHS Principal Grant Peters said.

Comer explained that the true value of the accreditation for high school students.

"This is going to give my students a chance to work at the schools or even at the YMCA and decide early if 'that's what I want to do,' or 'this is not right for me,'" Comer said.

Contact Bill Rethlake at 812-651-0876 or email bill.rethlake@greensburgdailynews.com