A panel of Avenue Scholars was rewarded with a standing ovation from a group of teachers and caregivers at a Buffet Early Childhood Conference, held Friday, Dec. 4, at the Kroc Center. “It means a lot,” said Ralston senior Emily Schirmbeck said. “I wanted to cry. It was so neat that they were there for us.”

Panel Earns Respect Appreciation from EducatorsIn addition to Schirmbeck, five other students participated: Sammy Randall, Millard South; Farhia Mohamed, Omaha Bryan; Steven McMorris, Omaha North; Omar Mohamed, Omaha South; and Nikki Gnofam, Papillion-LaVista.

Moderated by Laura Miller, Education Services Director at Avenue Scholars Foundation, students spoke to a variety of prompts, including career goals, trust, adversity, motivations, inspirations, advice, cultural influences and relationships with adults, especially educators. The event — a training workshop — was sponsored by the Buffet Early Childhood Institute. “It (the panel presentation) was really important for us,” Randall said. “It made us feel like our voice was important.”