Papillion-La Vista students celebrate future teacher signing day

May 2 was signing day for many future educators in one Omaha-metro school district.
Published: May. 2, 2023 at 12:39 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Tuesday morning was signing day for dozens of seniors in the Papillion-La Vista Community Schools district.

Across the nation, hundreds of students signed their letters of intent - but they’re not for sports.

“Be it known that the Papillion-La Vista Community Schools is very proud of your commitment and invites you to keep in touch as you pursue your career in education,” says Trent Steele, the secondary director of human resources and student services with PLCS during Tuesday’s signing ceremony.

Around 30 students at Papillion-La Vista High and Papillion-La Vista South signed on to be future educators.

“I have always had a passion for working with kids that have special needs,” says Melissa Tiedemann, who plans to attend UNO. “I can’t necessarily tell you a certain time where I was like ‘this is what I want to do,’ it’s just always been something that I’ve longed to have as a career.”

“We are living in a day and age where we all know we need great teachers joining this profession, and to be able to have them recognize that at this early age, and we want to make sure they know they have a support system back here,” says Dr. Kati Settles, the assistant superintendent of human resources at PLCS.

Many of the students who signed are part of the district’s Education Academy. Students apply for the program as freshmen or sophomores, and in junior year they learn about the art of teaching, and take part in mentoring in elementary schools.

By senior year, students are assigned internships based on their interests and get their first experiences working in classrooms.

“It is something that I look forward to so much, I love the students,” Tiedemann says about her internship.

Tuesday morning’s signing ceremony was a celebration of the students’ hard work and a celebration of their future endeavors.

“I was really excited because I was like, finally something to give recognition to people who are going to carry our future,” says Elly Ware, who plans to teach elementary Spanish. “I feel like teachers sometimes get overlooked so this will be a great opportunity to give thanks and especially like recognize us as we go forward to keep us motivated.”

At a time when teachers are needed more than ever, the school district hopes these future students will make their way back to the district to have an impact on future generations.