Saturday, the Texas Tech Law School filled with 7th and 8th grade students for a program called "Freedom to Succeed. Students learned skills to help them in middle school, but organizers said the most important part of the day was motivating them to look forward to higher education.
"Your education, which was once a privilege is now your right. So I say to you today, wake up to get up, and dress up to show up. Stand up and speak up, to rise up to you God given purpose," exclaimed 10-year-old Dalton Sherman from the podium. He is just one of several motivational speakers who told LISD students Saturday their future is in their hands.
Several educators, parents and community volunteers like Rich Baker organized the "Freedom to Succeed" event. About 75 students who teachers thought could use help in standardized testing attended. "We want to make sure that they do well on the TAKS test. It's difficult to go to college if you're not scoring high on TAKS, and so this is part of our investment with them," said Baker.
Students spent the day learning math, reading and writing test taking skills. "I'm getting a lot out of this. They're helping me to be more confident. They're helping me to learn more things," said one student attendee, Marina Pineda.
The students' parents also attended sessions on how to help their children succeed in the classroom. Baker knows how far the little extra help can go. "I was the type of kid that I thought very early on in life I didn't have many options or opportunities available to me when a few people sat down and talked to me and said you're really smart. I don't know why you would want to choose that path when you could very easily be successful," he said.
Baker went on to graduate high school, college, and then earned a law degree from Texas Tech. "With someone investing in me, I feel an obligation to reinvest with that same community that saw me to be successful," said Baker.
The students will take their TAKS tests in March and April where they will hopefully apply the skills they learned today.