SDSU event encourages high schoolers as future educators to address shortage

Anna Lockrem, Reporter

South Dakota State University hosted its annual Educators Rising Expo in the Student Union Friday, March 3.

This all-day event hosted 20 schools, 110 students, 20 chaperones and 25 volunteers which included faculty, students, guest speakers and more. 

The Educators Rising Expo planning started back in October by Makayla Griffin, a graduate teaching assistant, and Laura Akerworld, an instructor. The expo has occurred every year since 2019.

Due to the decline of educators on a national and local level, Educators Rising is an organization for high schoolers that works to inspire the next generation of educators.

At the Educators Rising Expo, students could attend breakout sessions, ask questions for current faculty and educators to answer, create new connections, tour SDSU and get a taste of what SDSU has to offer. They also served SDSU’s famous cookies ‘n cream ice cream.

   Travis Lape, the state director of Educators Rising, started five years ago to bring students together and help them connect to the world of education. thirty-five schools and 275 students are a part of Educator Rising in South Dakota and that number continues to grow yearly.

Lape’s concern when he took this role was, ‘what are we going to do with teacher recruitment?’

But his concern quickly turned into a realization of what the Educators Rising organization is in place to do.

“Future educators are sitting in our classroom,” Lape said. “In providing guidance and support for current high school students, Educators Rising is helping to ensure we have future educators to place in future classrooms.”

One future educator in attendance at the expo was senior Emma Murray. Murray wants to double major in Elementary and Special Education after graduating from Madison High School in the spring.

Murray has always known that she wanted to go into the education profession as she has watched her grandparents be mentors for people with disabilities. For as long as Murray can remember, her grandparents took individuals in and helped them navigate society

“I want to be an important person to future students,” Murray said, explaining why she thinks going into the profession is important. 

Murray said her grandparents, as well as her preschool teacher, have been important people in her life, and still 18 years later, their impact has motivated her decision to pursue education. She hopes to leave a mark on the world and help people by being an educator.

Anna Karabon, director of the School of Education, Counseling and Human Development also attended the Educators Rising Expo. She started her professional career as an early childhood and public elementary school teacher.

“SDSU graduates 150 students with teaching degrees each year,” Karabon said. With that, Karabon explained that 70% of students who graduate with a teaching degree teach within a 50-mile radius of where they grew up. SDSU teaching programs know the importance of educators in our society.

Karabon made it clear that an appreciation for teachers needs to change to combat the need for future teachers. 

“Participate in shifting the narrative as a society,” Karabon said.