13:12 PM

Urban Educators' Literacy Society Honors Fall 2016 Graduates

Group Photo On Thursday, Dec. 8 the Urban Educators' Literacy Society (UELS) celebrated the end of the semester at their sixth end-of-semester banquet, held at UHD's Willow Street Pump Station. UELS is a student organization whose mission is to provide experiences for pre-service teachers to acquire professional knowledge, serve the community, and develop professional contacts in the field of literacy education. With 178 active members, it is the university's largest student organization.

The organization's 22 graduating seniors were honored during a presentation where they were awarded with a teal graduation cord to wear at commencement. Colin Dalton, urban education assistant professor and UELS faculty sponsor, presented the graduation cords to the graduating seniors.

He said, "All the graduating seniors I spoke to had secured a teaching position for the new year, so I'm especially proud of them."

UELS members participated in 62 events during the fall 2016 semester, including reading children's books to the children of homeless parents, attending live theater productions, and participating in professional development workshops for future teachers. Colette Thomas, a long-time UELS member, received an award for attending the most UELS events during the semester. She stated, "I've learned so much and made several close friends by being a member of UELS."

Diane Miller, an assistant professor of literacy development education in the Department of Urban Education, presented the event's keynote speech.

She praised the UELS members for choosing to focus upon literacy saying, "Literacy in all of its forms—reading, writing, speaking, listening — informs every other academic pursuit."

Miller listed tips for "awesome, not lackluster" literacy instruction, illustrating each explanation with a representative literature selection: love, read, grow, connect, and teach. She encouraged the attendees to always remember that "every day of teaching literacy is another opportunity to unlock minds and unite hearts."

At the conclusion of her talk, Miller shared details about the upcoming Second Annual Children's Literature Tour of England, a faculty-led study abroad trip scheduled for May 2017.

Event organizer, UELS president Christopher Perez, said of the evening and the organization in general, "It's the members' hard work, dedication, and enthusiasm that makes this organization amazing!"

UELS officers for the Spring 2017 semester will be Christopher Perez (president), Lizeth Montelongo (Vice President), Rayza Curo (secretary), Sheena Lopez (treasurer), Kelly Kruzman (media coordinator), and Helen Lucero (recruiting officer).