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SFA's Perkins College of Education recognizes outstanding students

May 15, 2017 - University Marketing Communications
Stephen F. Austin State University's James I. Perkins College of Education recently honored outstanding students at its Biannual Clinical/Student Teacher Celebration. Pictured, from left, Zachary Tarvin, kinesiology senior from Arlington, who was awarded the Roy Hanna Outstanding Men's Kinesiology Graduate; Wendy West, early childhood through sixth grade senior from Azle, Texas, who was named the Janice A. Pattillo Outstanding Graduate; and TJ Davis, theatre education senior from Beaumont, who was awarded Exemplary Clinical/Student Teacher for the Department of Secondary Education and Educational Leadership.
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Stephen F. Austin State University's James I. Perkins College of Education recently honored outstanding students during the Biannual Clinical/Student Teacher Celebration.

Zachary Tarvin, kinesiology senior from Arlington, was awarded the Roy Hanna Outstanding Men's Kinesiology Graduate, which Hanna created to honor the top male graduate each year from the Department of Kinesiology and Health Science.

"I'm honored and humbled by this recognition," Tarvin said. "I have friends who are just as deserving of this award as I am. We've gone through this together, and it's been a lot of fun. I worked hard, and it's nice to see the fruits of my labor."

Through Tarvin's clinical/student teaching experience, he served as a junior high and high school clinical/student teacher within the Arlington Independent School District.

"I enjoyed student teaching at both schools. You learn a lot of nuances as far as taking attendance and grading efficiently," Tarvin said. "Student teaching gives us experiences we wouldn't have otherwise. It prepares us before we go into our own classroom."

During his first three years at SFA, Tarvin served as the SFA men's basketball team's manager. After graduation, Tarvin hopes to teach and coach basketball.

Dr. Deborah Buswell, SFA associate professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Science, presented Tarvin with the award.

"Having this young man in class has truly been a privilege during the past several years," Buswell said. "Zachary is a dedicated student, and it has been a pleasure for us to see him blossom during his SFA career."

Dr. Christina Sinclair, associate dean for assessment and accountability within the college, echoed Buswell's praise.

"Zach has been one of the most outstanding students I've had since I've been at SFA," Sinclair said. "He exemplifies the knowledge, skills and dispositions we hope to develop in all our teacher candidates."

Wendy West, early childhood through sixth grade senior from Azle, Texas, was awarded the Janice A. Pattillo Outstanding Graduate award.

"I'm overwhelmed. This was very unexpected," West said.

The Department of Elementary Education's scholarship committee members select the award recipient. The award is presented annually to an outstanding early childhood graduate.

West was involved in SFA's online completer program and has been a paraprofessional working as a teacher's aide in a computer lab for 15 years. Dr. Paula Griffin, assistant professor in the Department of Elementary Education, taught West in the online program.

"When Wendy was considering the online program, she came to campus to better understand how the program would work, what was expected and to gather every piece of information before she started the program," Griffin said. "Once she started, she never looked back. Her assignments were always top notch and turned in way before the due date. She is a lifelong learner."

Additionally, Terrill L. Davis Jr. (TJ), theatre education senior from Beaumont, was awarded Exemplary Clinical/Student Teacher for the Department of Secondary Education and Educational Leadership.

"The award means a lot to me. This whole journey of going to college is worth it and knowing that you've been in the classroom making a difference in the students' lives means so much," Davis said.

Each semester, the Exemplary Clinical/Student Teacher award is presented to recognize students for their outstanding teaching performance. Clinical/student teaching is a requirement by the Texas Education Agency for all candidates seeking educator certification in Texas. Candidates are placed in school for 15 weeks under the supervision of SFA faculty members and the classroom teacher.

"TJ is very passionate about theatre," said Dr. Neill Armstrong, associate professor in the Department of Secondary Education and Educational Leadership. "He engages his students and exemplifies the characteristics of a student-centered teacher."

Davis conducted his clinical/student teaching at Nacogdoches High School and worked alongside theatre teacher Victoria Perry.

"It was a really good experience working with Victoria Perry because she is amazing. She let me have full control of the classroom, so I had to solve problems as I was teaching, which was an interesting experience," Davis said.