Tonight millions of Americans will watch President Obama deliver his fifth State of the Union Address.
One AmeriCorps alum will have a choice seat for all the action. Kathy Hollowell-Makle, who served for two years as an AmeriCorps member with Teach For America, will be a special guest of First Lady Michelle Obama.
Since completing her AmeriCorps service in 2000, Kathy has continued to teach in the Washington, D.C. public schools. Last year, she was named the District of Columbia Public School’s Teacher of the Year.
AmeriCorps Director Bill Basl caught up with Kathy this morning in her kindergarten classroom at Abram Simon Elementary School. She is thrilled about the opportunity to join the First Lady and shine the spotlight on education and national service.
Kathy was inspired to go into teaching by volunteering as a tutor at an after-school program in Baltimore during college. She called her two years in AmeriCorps with Teach For America a “rich and meaningful experience” that changed her career path.
She said serving others has benefits beyond the impact on the community. “What you do for others also makes you feel good about yourself.” She remains close to many fellow AmeriCorps members that served with her.
At Simon, where she has taught for four years, Kathy focuses on students’ confidence and perseverance, and goes above and beyond to help students succeed. By the school year’s end, more than 90 percent of her students demonstrate early literacy at proficient or advanced levels and last year, more than 80 percent of her students advanced two or more reading levels.
Kathy says that national service has been an important part of her life and her success in the classroom. AmeriCorps members from City Year have provided extra attention and support to help children learn. “It’s not just the academic support they provide, it’s another adult in the classroom to be a mentor and role model and develop relationships with the students. “
The national service family congratulates Kathy for her dedication to service and for receiving this honor. Join her and millions of others tonight as we hear from the President about the state of our union.