Below is an update from Derrick Toups, Class of 2008. Derrick is currently attending Tulane University in New Orleans, LA:
I spent the summer in Losho, a small rural village about four hours outside of Nairobi, Kenya with members of the Maasai American Organization. I taught English to around 20 pre-schoolers and focused primarily on phonics and rhyme production/recognition. I also helped develop a conference on phonemic awareness and the foundations of literacy for the 13 pre-primary school teachers in the Siana Location (basically a parish). In the upcoming year I will research early childhood education and combine observations from my work with the pre-schoolers along with the conference materials to develop an 8-week curriculum for the MAO to use in Losho next summer. Aside from my work with the pre-schoolers, I tutored a girl in class 4 (4th grade) in English each night and helped with a few small health projects around the community.
Since my time at LSMSA, I've also done service work in Panama, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic.
As far as education, I'm actually graduating from Tulane next year (a year early) with my BA in English and with minors in International Development and Russian Language & Literature. However, I was accepted to Tulane's 4+1 program for English, which allows me to get my master's in an additional year, so I'll be sticking around New Orleans for my graduate degree. Post graduation, I'd like to work abroad with the Peace Corps, TEFL, or via a Fulbright Scholarship. Then again, I might stay in New Orleans to work in the advertising field.
If you're interested in my involvement at Tulane, I am the production manager for The Tulane Hullabaloo (the newspaper), and I am also heading up marketing efforts for homecoming and Crawfest, a student run music fest on campus. Furthermore, I am the director of communications for the Associated Student Body. All that work is unpaid of course, but I earn my dues by designing promotion materials for the Student Health Center, and starting next year, I will work on marketing campaigns for the campus recreation center.
I've attached some pictures from my trip to Kenya.
Hope all is well in Natchitoches. Can't wait to visit soon!