September's Teacher of the Month: Donna Pilgrim

by Stan Morris e-mail | Twitter

LEPANTO, AR (KAIT) - September's Teacher of the Month is one that took time out of her day to further her students education: by organizing a trip to Washington, D.C: Donna Pilgrim of East Poinsett County High School.

Ms. Pilgrim, as her 7th and 8th grade social studies students call her, works to give her kids more answers than questions. "I became a teacher because I care about kids," she said.

"I did not like it [history] when I was in school, especially in the 7th and 8th grade, but the more I learn about it, the more I like it," commented Pilgrim.

When we visited her class, she talked about the cost of freedom. She told her students that freedom isn't free and that millions have died to preserve our rights. But to drive the point home and further grab the short-attention span of a teenager, she brings up how one student's father bravely served in the Middle East. He was gone for 15 months, she learns from the student. He was home for one week, says the youth.

Pilgrim says that even though he safely returned, not only did he pay the price but so did the family of this soldier.

Personalizing history is why Donna Pilgrim headed up an effort to take her students to Washington, D.C. She came together with other parents and organizers from school to fundraise, plan and take a trip full of history, knowledge and memories. "I want to bring it alive for them, I want to make it interesting for them." said Pilgrim. "Actually going there is indescribable, it brings it alive."

"I had a parent that told me his daughter was not interested at all in history, now, since she's been home, when anything comes on the news, she says I was there." said the engaging social studies teacher.

And she hopes that by getting reactions like that, she can make her students more interested than ever in social science and in school.

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