The Texas Association of Future Educators Make it to Nationals


Submitted by Ryan Hernandez

Mrs. Slemmons, Ashley Ochoa, and Ryan Hernandez at their TAFE competition.

Julia Fender, Staff Writer

Teaching is so often overlooked. However, the Texas Association of Future Educators and its many participants are putting teaching in the spotlight, and this serves to remind us all just how much teachers do. The TAFE program at JHS is no different. Recently the small team has made incredible moves towards success with their latest win being granted a spot in Nationals in Orlando, Fla. Despite this early success, many people don’t know about the TAFE group and just how amazing of a program it really is. 

“TAFE is a student organization for those that want to work with kids or just to practice their public speaking skills,” club sponsor Betsy Slemmons said. 

Slemmons, who originally taught at Lehman, wanted to bring the program to JHS in order to bring out the passion in aspiring students. 

“There’s a teacher shortage, there’s always going to be, so it has to be your passion and something that you enjoy doing. That’s how I ended up bringing the program here,” Slemmons said. 

In order to compete, students need to prepare a presentation, which can vary from many different things and types of presentations. The students present in front of a panel of judges where they are then scored. 

“I feel like that was the most nerve-racking thing, just getting used to putting it all out there,” Ashley Ochoa, senior participant in the program, said. “I was confident in what I researched, I was confident in what I had to say, but actually doing it and going over that stuff was probably the hardest part.”

TAFE opens the door for many students once they graduate with the district allowing students to substitute teach while in college. Another way that TAFE has helped the lives of students is by awarding scholarships. Senior Ryan Hernandez was the first student in the history of JHS to be awarded a scholarship through the TAFE program. 

“Out of all the students that were in JV and varsity, I was picked,” Hernandez said. “I was just like what in the world did I do? It was just a shock because I did so much better than I thought. My score that I got for State was the highest score that I’ve ever gotten for any of my competitions.”

TAFE has impacted many students and the course of their lives after they graduate, and it will continue to do so. The hope for many in the organization is the growth of the program at JHS. 

“I just really hope that people see that there’s so much that you can do with the education program here,” Hernandez said. “There’s so much that goes into it, and it’s just like your second family at the school because you’re with them all the time.”