When a student becomes a teacher


By Hope Lecchi - [email protected]



Celina Corona, back row left, is surrounded by students at the Pettis County Early Childhood Cooperative one day during her week-long internship in the Sedalia FIT Program. Pictured with Corona are teacher Shelby McConnell, paraprofessional Rachel Samson and teacher Ashley Avis. Corona worked closely with the three staff members, learning some of the requirements and responsibilities of working with young students with special needs.


Photo courtesy of Sedalia FIT

Some people are drawn to a career even if they may not have considered it as an option early on.

Celina Corona is such an individual. Originally, Corona said she wanted to be a stenographer but she is now considering other options thanks to her internship with Sedalia FIT (Forty-hour Internship Training).

Corona recently spent a week at the Pettis County Early Childhood Cooperative working with and observing the work required in helping 3- and 4-year-old children with special needs.

“I really liked working with the little children,” Corona said. “I like to watch them grow and learn how to accomplish different things.

“Being here the past few days has helped me learn too, especially how to interact with kids better,” Corona added.

According to the three staff members Corona worked with, classroom teachers Ashley Avis, Shelby McConnell and para-professional Rachel Samson, Corona is a natural in helping young children.

“I could go on all day about the good job Celina has done since she has been here,” Avis said. “I think one of the things that impressed me the most about her is that she was willing to get on the students’ level to work with them.

“She physically interacted with them and spoke to them on their level,” she added. “Celina is fluent in Spanish and the students looked to her to help translate.”

Samson said one of the things she appreciated and noticed in Corona was the tremendous amount of patience she had while working with the students.

“Celina has such patience,” Samson said. “She takes the time to really listen to the students and she tries to understand them and help them in any way she can.”

Co-op Principal Grace Kendrick took note of Corona’s patience and efforts during her stay at the school.

“We are always looking for positive role models to work with our students and Celina has such a positive personality and there are always opportunities here for people like Celina,” Kendrick said. “We are excited about attracting teachers and paras from within our district to work here and the FIT program is a way for students to see some of the work that we do.”

For Corona, working with the teachers and staff was a rewarding experience.

“The ladies here have such a strong team and they work well together,” Corona said. “It’s been exciting to watch them.

“At first I wanted to go into another field but after my interview with Mr. (Ed) Watkins and Mrs. (Betty) Hopkins they suggested that I try my internship here and I said I’d go,” she added. “I really like what I have done and I am really thinking about going into the field in the future.”

McConnell said she thinks teaching would be a perfect fit for Corona.

“From day one she helped with everything,” McConnell said. “I think this program is a great one because it teaches the students responsibility and it helps them see some of the benefits they may not realize now but will need in the long run.

“Celina was there at the door greeting the students each morning and they would wrestle with one another to sit on her lap throughout the day,” she added. “Building rapport with students is hard at any age, but she was able to do it from the start.”

The rewards of Corona’s internship seemed to be mutually beneficial for the students, staff and Corona.

“I think I speak for all of us when I say we were grateful to be a part of the program,” Avis said. “It’s always nice when you can help a young mind find where they want to go in the world.”

Celina Corona, back row left, is surrounded by students at the Pettis County Early Childhood Cooperative one day during her week-long internship in the Sedalia FIT Program. Pictured with Corona are teacher Shelby McConnell, paraprofessional Rachel Samson and teacher Ashley Avis. Corona worked closely with the three staff members, learning some of the requirements and responsibilities of working with young students with special needs.
http://sedaliademocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/web1_tsd102816sedaliafit1.jpgCelina Corona, back row left, is surrounded by students at the Pettis County Early Childhood Cooperative one day during her week-long internship in the Sedalia FIT Program. Pictured with Corona are teacher Shelby McConnell, paraprofessional Rachel Samson and teacher Ashley Avis. Corona worked closely with the three staff members, learning some of the requirements and responsibilities of working with young students with special needs. Photo courtesy of Sedalia FIT

By Hope Lecchi

[email protected]

Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484.

Sedalia Democrat

Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484.

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