Education in Action Blog

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Listen to "Education in Action" written and performed by John McConnell!

Outstanding Texas educators join Education in Action each summer to enrich the lives of young leaders taking part in our Lone Star Leadership Academy camps. While the campers love experiencing notable Texas sites and learning about leadership with other top-notch students from across Texas, it’s our incredible team of facilitators that make the camp come to life for the students. Because of the important role they play in the campers’ experiences, and because we’re proud of the caliber of teachers that join us each summer, we appreciate the opportunity to spotlight our facilitators!

This fall we were overwhelmed when John McConnell, a 3rd grade teacher at Barbara Jordan Elementary in Fort Bend ISD sent us a recording of his song, “Education in Action”. He had just completed his first summer...

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One hundred five outstanding young Texans are taking part in the 2018-2019 Lone Star Leadership Academy Alumni Council! All members previously took part in Lone Star Leadership Academy summer camps to develop their leadership skills and experience notable Texas sites with other top-notch students from across the state. The Alumni Council, an annual program, provides camp alumni with a structured opportunity to take their leadership skills to the next level through service each school year.

Alumni Council members complete online leadership lessons to help them identify their passions and talents and a need in their community that is meaningful to them. They apply their insights by creating a service project of their choosing and recruiting and leading others to accomplish their goal. This year’s Alumni Council members come from all over our great state - from El Paso in the west to Texarkana in the east and from Dumas in the north to Mission in the south. We even have a member from Baton Rouge, LA!

We are proud of the positive impact members of the Alumni Council make...

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Two years ago I participated in an event, Dancers Kickin' Cancer. This event was a fundraiser for the L3 Foundation. They raise money for pediatric cancer patients. The foundation was founded by a little boy, Landon who was battling cancer and ended up losing his battle at the age of 10. His dad Scott addressed the crowd and encouraged us, especially the kids, to #MakeADifference. The story of Landon and the challenge from his dad inspired me to do just that, make a difference.

After visiting with my parents and Mr. Scott, I started my first service project, Hats Off for a Cure, at the age of nine. Through that campaign I collected over 3,000 hats for the children battling cancer at Texas Children’s Cancer Center. I received hats from not only in our area but as far as New York, Pennsylvania, Kansas, and New Jersey. This campaign inspired adults to start their own hat collections in different parts of Texas.

During my service project I was nominated by my counselor,...

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Discover Texas Field Trips Funding

“We want to take our students on a Discover Texas Field Trip but we just don’t have the funds.” We hear this a lot from educators that want to take their classrooms on the road to supplement classroom learning with educational field trips, but the funding just isn’t there. As educators at Education in Action, we believe that all students should have the opportunity to experience Texas and through experiential learning programs such as our Discover Texas Field Trips. For this reason, we are always on the lookout for funding opportunities for schools to take part in these programs. Here are some opportunities that may be an option for your school. You could apply for the first opportunity today!

Student Youth Travel Association Youth Foundation Road Scholarships of up to $5,000


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Education in Action was awarded $500 by Staples Foundation, the private charitable arm of Staples, Inc., through a program called 2 Million & Change that allows Staples associates around the globe to direct more than $2 million in donations each year. Ms. Karen Alvarez, Manager of the Southlake location of Staples, nominated Education in Action for the award.

“We were elated to learn we received these funds! This money provided five $100 scholarships for outstanding young Texans on free or reduced meals to take part in our summer 2018 Lone Star Leadership Academy camps.” stated Jennifer Pasteur, Executive Director of Education in Action. “We want every nominated student to be able to take part in this unique educational experience. Thank you to Karen Alvarez, Staples Store Manager of the Southlake location, for nominating Education in Action for this grant and thank you to the Staples Foundation for awarding the funds and helping us fulfill our mission, to empower young people to be informed and active leaders in their communities.”

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Sixty-one outstanding young student leaders from across Texas successfully completed membership in Education in Action’s 2017-2018 Lone Star Leadership Academy Alumni Council. Members each received a certificate of merit to honor the contributions they made to their communities through the service projects they led this school year as Alumni Council members.

Initially, members participated in the Lone Star Leadership Academy, a weeklong leadership development summer camp. As graduates of this program, they were invited to join the Alumni Council to continue developing their leadership skills during the school year. They completed leadership modules to pinpoint their interests and talents and to identify a need in their community about which they were passionate. They used the information to create and lead a service project of their choosing. A 2017-2018 Alumni Council Video and a description and photo of each student’s service project are available at...

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Each year the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented awards merit-based scholarships of up to $400 for GT students to take part in summer enrichment opportunities including Lone Star Leadership Academy camps. This year, a FULL scholarship for the top scoring applicant to attend the Lone Star Leadership Academy was also awarded. Congratulations to Mikaela Johnson, an 8th grader from Early ISD. Mikaela was the top scoring Lone Star Leadership Academy applicant and received a FULL scholarship to attend the Houston/Galveston camp this summer!

SIXTEEN additional outstanding students from across the state received TAGT Scholarships to attend summer 2018 Lone Star Leadership Academy camps. This year's winners include Marisol Acevedo of Fort Worth, Emaan Atiq of Richmond, Karen Butron-Rangel of Houston, Maggie Cepeda of McAllen, Ayanna Constantino of Levelland, Aidan Cuellar of San...

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Kudos to Pavithra Gopalakrishnan for winning the 2018 Texas State Historical Association's Junior Historians "Lone Star Leader in Texas History" essay contest! Her entry, "The Life and Leadership of Samuel Houston", earned her a full scholarship to attend a 2018 Lone Star Leadership Academy camp.

"Frank" de la Teja, TSHA's Interim Chief Executive Officer, presented Pavithra with her award during the 2018 Junior Historians Annual Meeting Awards Luncheon in San Antonio on April 7th. Kudos, Pavithra! We look forward to seeing you at camp this summer! #TSHA #EducationInAction #LoneStarLeadershipAcademy


Jayson Kimberly, a 6th grader at Montgomery Junior High in Montgomery, Texas and Lone Star Leadership Academy Dallas/Fort Worth and Austin/San Antonio camps alumnus, is making quite a name for himself among animal lovers in his community! As a member of the 2017-2018 Lone Star Leadership Academy Alumni Council, Jayson has helped hundreds of foster and shelter animals through his “Leave it for the Pooch” service project. With two Great Danes, two Weimaraners, and a Bull Mastiff in his family, it’s no surprise Jayson chose to create and lead a service project benefiting his four-legged friends!

In July 2017 Jayson started his project by creating a “Leave it for the Pooch” Facebook group as a place for donors to notify him of items for pickup and for those that shelter and foster animals to post their needs and wish lists. Thank yous for donations received and photos of donation drop-offs are also posted on this page. Jayson also partnered with...

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We are excited to highlight Jade Sosa, a stand-out young leader that took part in the Lone Star Leadership Academy – Houston/Galveston camp this past summer. Jade is a GT student at International Baccalaureate Lamar Academy in McAllen. She cofounded an organization called Project 2.0, Do Something Mentor, to provide positive role models to mentor students in her school that didn’t have positive mentors in their lives. The idea came to her when she attended People to People Leadership Ambassador Program at Harvard where she was asked to think of a local community problem and come up with a solution. The Texas Education Agency recognized her work by naming her a 2017 Student Hero Award recipient. In addition, Jade presented her program at the South Texas Ideas Festival in March of 2017. Kudos to Jade for taking the initiative to make a positive difference in her school and community in such a unique...


Kudos to Dawson Zarazinski for winning the 2017 Texas State Historical Association's Junior Historians "Lone Star Leader in Texas History" essay contest! His entry, titled "Charles Goodnight 'Father of the Texas Panhandle'" earned him a full scholarship to attend a 2017 Lone Star Leadership Academy camp. He took part in this week's June 11-16 Dallas/Fort Worth camp.

I met with Dawson this morning, his last day at camp, to congratulate him and to learn a little more about him. I asked Dawson what motivated him to enter the contest and he stated, "I do well in UIL Writing and thought I had a pretty good chance, so I entered." When I asked what was his favorite experience during the week he said, "That's hard. Either AT&T Stadium or the Texas Civil War Museum. I'm all about the Civil War and I've always liked learning about it. My great-great-great-great grandfather fought in the Civil War." He also shared, "I'm also really...

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Each year the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented awards merit-based scholarships of up to $400 for GT students to take part in summer enrichment opportunities including Lone Star Leadership Academy camps. We are delighted to announce that TWELVE outstanding students received TAGT Scholarships to attend summer 2017 Lone Star Leadership Academy camps. With more than 600 TAGT scholarship applicants and less than 50 recipients this cycle, we are delighted that almost a quarter of TAGT's scholarships went to future Lone Star Leadership Academy campers! This says a great deal about the caliber of students that take part in these camps! In addition, ZaCory Shields received TAGT’s Carole Vermillion Elementary Scholar Award for submitting the highest scoring summer enrichment scholarship application! As the winner of this award, ZaCory received a $500 scholarship to attend the Lone Star Leadership Academy! The remaining eleven TAGT scholarship winners are...

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Kudos to Caden Black, Lone Star Leadership Academy Alumni Council third year member, for being recognized in Azleway Boys Ranch’s spring 2017 magazine! For his 2016-2017 Alumni Council service project, “Hooked on Books”, Caden collected more than 1,000 books which he donated to Azleway Boys Ranch, an organization that has been restoring lives and relationships of children in crisis since 1979. For his first two service projects (2014-2015 and 2015-2016) Caden collected food and clothing for his community’s pantry. In addition, Caden has earned Education in Action’s Trailblazer designation by participating in all three Lone Star Leadership Academy camps. We are so proud of this Lone Star Leader! Read the full article recognizing Caden’s work!

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In honor of National Random Acts of Kindness Week, February 12th-18th, we are highlighting an activity recently completed by our 2016-2017 Lone Star Leadership Academy Alumni Council members. Members have committed to a year of continued leadership development in the form of four leadership lessons and a service project. In December, for one of their lessons, Carolyne Markle, Alumni Council Coordinator, challenged all 88 members to reflect on how Random Acts of Kindness received had made them feel and the benefits of performing them. She then challenged them to perform their own Random Acts of Kindness. The 88 members representing schools and districts across Texas completed the assignment and spread goodwill all over the state! Here are just a few examples:

  • "My friend and I chose to smile at everyone we pass in the halls at school. It definitely creates positive vibes and encourages the people we smile at to smile at others, too!"
  • "We decided to write anonymous notes to our favorite teachers about how much we appreciate them."
  • "I noticed a girl behind...

In 2012, I was nominated to be a delegate at the Lone Star Leadership Academy. I raised the money needed and participated in the LSLA Houston/Galveston camp. Continuing in the LSLA Alumni Council, I was encouraged to get involved in my school and community. After my freshman year, I returned to the LSLA - Houston/Galveston camp as a Youth Facilitator. That experience was the turning point which gave me the confidence and developed my leadership skills needed to serve others. My community service involvement includes Wounded Warrior Project, Ronald McDonald House, Keep Sevier Beautiful, and Sevier County Food Ministries.

While volunteering for the food ministries, I heard many of our “Neighbors” requesting personal care products. Since we don’t provide those items, I felt compelled to get involved and developed my foundation, Project Neighbor Tree - “Branching out to those in need.”

Creating a GoFundMe page generated funds which...

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When you hear the name Walker, Texas Ranger, you probably think of Chuck Norris’ portrayal on TV. To many people’s surprise, Chuck Norris is not the original Walker, Texas Ranger. That title belongs to Samuel Hamilton Walker who was born in Maryland and later moved to Texas to join the Texas Rangers. During Walker’s time as a Texas Ranger, he joined the company of the most famous Texas Ranger, “Jack” Hays. Although he died young, Walker became a legend among the Texas Rangers. To learn more, check out this article which originally appeared in the October 2014 edition of The Alamo Messenger, a monthly history publication from the Alamo’s education department.

New for the 2016-2017 school year, Education in Action has added an optional stop at the Texas Ranger Museum in Waco to our “Proud to be Texan” field trip to Austin....

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Eighty-seven outstanding young student leaders from across Texas successfully completed membership in Education in Action’s 2015-2016 Lone Star Leadership Academy Alumni Council. Each student received a certificate of merit for their dedication to developing their leadership skills and their service to their communities.

Members participated in the Lone Star Leadership Academy, a weeklong leadership development summer camp. As graduates of this program, they were invited to join Education in Action’s alumni program, the Lone Star Leadership Academy Alumni Council, to receive leadership training during the school year. Each member completed leadership skill-building lessons and exercised their leadership skills by identifying a need in their community and creating and leading at least two others in a service project of their choosing. Descriptions, photos, and, in some cases, videos of each student’s service project are available at...

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Kudos to second year Lone Star Leadership Academy Alumni Council member Ryan C. of Montgomery ISD! Ryan was named a finalist for the 2016 Presidential Environmental Youth Award for his 2014-2015 Youth Council service project titled "Treasure Island Beach Clean Up - Brazoria County" and received a certificate and a letter from President Obama! For his project, Ryan spent 20 hours with eight volunteers cleaning the Treasure Island beaches near San Luis Pass in Brazoria County. The group's efforts helped provide a safer nesting environment for endangered sea turtles. Ryan is continuing this project again for his 2015-2016 Alumni Council service project.

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I really enjoyed participating in the Lone Star Leadership Academy back in 2005, and I'm sure that visiting the Capitol fueled my interest in politics/government.

What I most remember about my participation in the camp was my visit to the Capitol, where I had the opportunity to visit with the staff of my state representative and state senator. Then, that would have been Representative Rob Orr and Senator Kip Averitt. Visiting the Capitol and taking the public tour was interesting, but the chance to talk with legislative staff certainly added a more academic and professional dimension to my experience. I was very nervous about visiting the offices, but everybody I met was so friendly and willing to answer questions. I do remember one staffer discussing how they had to work very long hours whenever the Legislature was in session, which I found out first hand several years later. But meeting with legislative staff in the offices was probably the highlight of my trip - as a young kid who even at age 12/13 was interested in government and history, that was the agenda item I...

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One of the leaders on this week's Lone Star Leadership Academy-Dallas/Fort Worth camp has a unique history with Education in Action! Jacob P. is the son of Jennifer Pasteur, Education in Action's Executive Director and Founder. Jacob was born in 2006, five years after the organization's founding. He has grown up in and around the Education in Action office so it's really fun to have this special leader on our Lone Star Leadership Academy for the very first time. Jacob is a student at North Texas Leadership Academy in Keller, Education in Action's private school. We can't wait to hear what he has to say about his week at camp! #EducationInAction #LoneStarLeadershipAcademy