Jake Halde '13: Educating Our Future

Jake Halde '13 realized that education was his life’s calling during a McKendree University field experience.

"I was observing in a special education classroom," he said. "There was a second grader that was very far behind in reading and did not know the sounds that different letters made. I worked with him once a week for several weeks, teaching him the sounds of letters, and how they worked together to form words. We struggled together as the student attempted to read simple sentences and I guided him along the way by sounding out words with him. The last day I was with him he read the sentence 'a cat ran' all by himself. When I exclaimed 'that’s right,' I have never seen so much pure joy in a person’s face. I drove back to my apartment with tears of joy in my eyes."

A science education major, Jake is enthusiastic about education. "Teaching is my passion, and everything I do in school is done to become a more effective teacher and to hopefully have a greater impact on my future students’ education and lives," he said.

"My interest in education began when I started to realize how much of an impact my previous teachers had on my life," he said. "I did not realize, or truly appreciate what they were doing for me at the time, but when I was finishing high school, and was thinking about what I would major in, in college, I thought what better career than to impact the lives of my students like my teachers had done for me."

He credits his McKendree professors for nurturing his interest in education and his vast science education in the classroom and in field experiences for providing him with the confidence and knowledgeable to effectively teach his students. "I fell in love with the sciences because of my science teachers in high school, and I want to create excitement and curiosity for students within the fields of science, and teach them lessons that can be used outside of the classroom as well. What is more exciting than discovering how the world around you works!"

He has exhibited this passion and excitement for science education through his involvement with the University’s FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotic initiatives. Last November, he was the master of ceremonies for the FIRST Lego League Robotics competition and in July he coordinated and served as a coach and master of ceremonies for the FIRST Lego League summer camp on campus.

Jake is always pushing himself above and beyond what is required and is on the verge of finally realizing his dream of becoming an educator. Named to the president’s list, with a 4.0 grade point average, and recognized as a Great Lakes Valley Conference and Intercollegiate Tennis Association scholar athlete, he was honored as the outstanding science education student at the University’s Honor’s Day event in April. He is currently spending his final semester as a student teacher at Belleville East High School, teaching five sections of biology.

Prior to this semester, Jake was actively involved in several activities at McKendree, including serving as president of Sigma Zeta National Science Honor Society and Kappa Delta Pi International Education Honor Society; volunteering as a biology tutor in the McKendree Academic Support Center, competing on the men’s tennis team and working as a resident assistant at McKendree West.

After graduation, Jake would like to teach high school science. He would also like to coach tennis at the high school level. In addition, he plans to go back to school to obtain a master’s degree in education administration (M.A.E.D.) and then eventually pursue a doctorate of education (D.Ed.) or a doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) in biology.

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