Early Learning Coalition Luncheon Benefits Whitman Interns Leading School-based programs in Walla Walla Community


The Student Engagement Center sponsored a table at the annual Early Learning Coalition Luncheon in the Reid Ballroom on Tuesday, October 21, affording  Whitman School-based interns an accessible opportunity to network and learn from community and state leaders invested in this movement to improve the first five years of every child’s life.

Keynote speaker, Sam Whiting – President and CEO of Thrive by Five of Washington,  said that “early learning IS social justice work” and encouraged the audience with updates that Washington has it’s 3rd Governor in a row who understands that early learning investments are necessary to close the opportunity gap for children. Momentum is growing between the public and private sector in collaboration for long-term structural developments in quality childcare and preschool, home visits , and kindergarten readiness.  Finally, awareness is growing in Washington state about the importance of early learning.  In a recent random poll, 8/10 voters placed early learning second only to job growth and economic stability as priorities for Washington state.

Economists agree that for every dollar invested in early learning, there is at least $7 saved in future costs related to social services, remedial education, public safety and juvenile justice.  Representative Maureen Walsh received the Crayon Award from the Children’s Alliance of Seattle for her continued work in bringing her Caucus around to see the importance of dollars used in this manner for the long-term health and well-being of children, families and communities in Washington and around the nation.

Representative Maureen Walsh receives the Crayon Award.
Representative Maureen Walsh receives the Crayon Award.

As program managers building capacity for Whitman students to take direct action in our schools through reading to children at childcare centers and in K-2 classrooms, offering consistent friendship to K-5 elementary students, supporting guided study at Walla Walla High School, and allowing for teaching experience with bi-lingual students and about civil rights and social justice issues throughout the district, the interns were exposed to the role that partnership and collaboration play in social change.  Here are some of their own reflections on what they heard and will take away from this event:FullSizeRender

Nate Higby ’15, College Coaches Intern, and Mackenzie Palmer ’17, Storytime Intern enjoy a lovely Autumn Fall lunch with community partners from Early Headstart at the Valle Lindo and YMCA.


It is more than an economic matter, and it is more than a matter of improving each individual child’s experience; it is an issue of leveling the playing field and helping to realize every person’s right to education regardless of race, gender, socioeconomic status, or other group distinction.” – Mackenzie Palmer, Storytime Intern

The people at the Early Leaning Coalition Lunch ranged from elementary school teachers to members of the local police. Seeing all of these people come together to discuss the importance of early education reinforced keynote speaker, Sam Whiting’s, claim that it takes all of us to work for education reform. Through my involvement with WTTM, I have seen first hand how a collaborative process between individuals and between groups of people can create something infinitely stronger and more sustainable than what one person could do alone.” – Sophie Schouboe, Whitman Teaches the Movement Community Service Intern

Whitman’s School-based Community Service Interns

Storytime Intern – Mackenzie Palmer

Mentor Interns – Leslie Rodriquez and Rina Wulfing

Green Park Bi-Lingual Intern – Elissa Picozzi

College Coaches Intern – Nate Higby

Whitman Teaches the Movement – Sophie Schouboe




For Parents – Talking with your student about the future

Parents can be a huge help when it comes to making sure that their daughters and sons understand the many resources available on campus for thinking about life after Whitman. Here are a few ideas of topics to bring up in that Skype call or email to your children.

Here are some great questions to talk about with your student:

  1. Have you visited the Student Engagement Center? Do you know what resources they have to offer?
  2. Have you checked into Spring and Summer Internship possibilities?
  3. Have you considered Job Shadowing? Informational Interviewing? Networking? Community Service opportunities?
  4. Did you know that the SEC offers workshops on all the above?

Here are some great ideas to discuss with your student:

  1. Give them names of friends and family to meet with and talk to about their career experiences.
  2. Explore how their campus activities: clubs, community service, sports, student government, etc. can be of help when thinking about careers.
  3. Make an appointment with your Career Counselor, Community Service Coordinators, Business Engagement Director, Internship Coordinator, to talk about possibilities!

Make a Difference Day 2014

On Saturday, October 18th, 117 Whitman students went out to serve on over a dozen service projects. SCORE groups were reunited, friendships were kindled, and a difference was most certainly made. Whitties gardened, cleaned, promoted, planted, and so much more in their effort to make service their thing. We are proud to have contributed so many volunteers to this national day of service. At the end of the day, any participants reflected on their experiences, especially how their service relates to their life goals:

I want to make events like Make a Difference Day and Service Saturday a tradition during my time at Whitman”

I love that art is seen as valuable to the community, and it is certainly personally important to me.”

I want to be a doctor and taking care of others and caring for their well-being is an important aspect of the career.”

I want to stay involved in my community after Whitman.”

I loved reuniting with my SCORE and with the people from other SCOREs. I also loved seeing the progress made at Valle Lindo since I was last there.”

Service is fun!”

Thank you so much to the dedicated volunteers who participated, the amazing interns and staff of the Student Engagement Center, and the incredible community partners who hosted our students. Events like this would not be possible without your support, leadership, and commitment.