Schooling the Competition

The Millard Educators Rising Chapter proves itself at the state competition


Photo courtesy of Rebekah Hitz

All members of the Millard Educators Rising Chapter that placed in the top five at the State Conference and qualified for Nationals.

Madelyn Augustine, News Director

After a six day delay due to the weather, the future educators of Millard finally got their chance to show off their skills. On Feb. 26, the Millard Educators Rising Chapter competed at the Nebraska State Conference at the Marriott Beardmore Convention Center in Bellevue, Neb.

Nebraska has 20 different Educators Rising chapters, 19 of which competed at the State Conference. These chapters ranged from Omaha South to Papillion La-Vista to the Career Academy of Lincoln. The conference was an all-day event that began with a keynote speaker, followed with different break-out sessions and competitions. The State Conference offered a blend of individual and team events with competitions that were authentic, project-based opportunities for rising educators to measure their creativity, skills and initiative against high standards and their peers from across the state.

“Educators Rising is a career and technical student organization that focuses on preparing high school students as future educators,” Nebraska Educators Rising State President and senior Rebekah Hitz said. “Its main goal is to make sure that every one of its members have the tools they need to succeed and become the best educators possible for future generations. Educators Rising is important because it gives students the chance to hear from current educators to get ideas for their classrooms and just their future as an educator. It also gives students the chance to meet with different future educators that they can network with.”

The Millard Educators Rising Chapter spent several class days leading up to the State Conference practicing and preparing their projects for their competitions. For every competition there is a rubric online that the groups had to try and complete to perfection. The chapter competed in all 14 categories including Creative Lecture, Ethical Dilemma, Public Speaking, Impromptu Speaking and Educators Rising Moment.

In the Ethical Dilemma category, the Millard Chapter had two groups place in the final awards. Seniors Blakely Anderson and Haley Spreitzer placed in the top five for the category. For the competition, groups were given a classroom situation in which they then had to build a presentation off of describing how they would handle the dilemma.  

“This year’s scenario dealt with IEPs (Individualized Education Plans) and how we would deal with them in certain ways,” Anderson said. “Haley and I spent a majority of our own time finalizing our presentation. We ended up placing fourth which was super exciting because it showed that all of our hard work had paid off.”

The other group that competed in Ethical Dilemma was composed of seniors Grace Klein, Caitlin Kaup, Madeline Wederquist and Pryce Dornbier.

“My group and I spent several hours both in class and outside of class preparing our presentation for State,” Klein said. “We got first in our competition which was the best part of the whole day. We honestly did not think we were going to place at all during awards because we had some technical difficulties during our presentation, but I guess we played it off well.”

Other award winners from the Millard Chapter included a first place finish in Creative Lecture by junior Parker Speck, second place in Educators Rising Moment for junior Brady DeTavenier, fifth place in Impromptu Speaking by senior Leah Mattox, fourth place in Job Interview by senior Jordan Harre, fourth place in Public Speaking for senior Jessica Reyes, fifth place in Public Speaking by junior Kaitlin Kocis and a third place finish in Researching Learning Challenges for seniors Kylie Decker, Addison Dannehl, Breanna Green and Hannah Smith.

“My favorite part from the State Conference was seeing everyone do so well in their competitions,” Anderson said. “Everyone from Millard did really well and the majority of us placed. I love being able to be involved in something that will help me with my future and being able to do it all with people who have the same passion [teaching] as me.”

Besides competitions and breakout sessions, the State Conference had a college fair with representatives from a large group of colleges and universities in Neb. The future educators were also able to listen to this year’s Teacher of the Year, English teacher Sydney Jensen from Lincoln High School. After all of the competitions were done, the different chapters took part in a quiz bowl. A lip sync battle was added this year in addition to the quiz bowl, to allow all of the students to have an entertaining break before the award ceremony.

The Millard Educators Rising Chapter had successfully proved their future educating skills while at the State Conference. One of the most important honors was given to junior Kylie Johnson; she was named a State Officer for next year’s Educators Rising board. Every member of the Millard Chapter that placed in the top five at the State Conference also qualified to compete at Nationals on June 22-25 in Dallas, Texas. Throughout the State Conference and their work in class this year, our future educators have learned how to be leaders and advocates for education and have prepared themselves for Nationals and their future careers as teachers.