Panel Earns Respect, Appreciation from Educators

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.”

In 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.”