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EIU 360

EIU 360

Golden Apple Never Falls Far From the Tree

Meghan Vinson, an education major and Golden Apple Scholar at EIU, says the positive influence of her childhood teachers still inspires and influences her to this day.

It all started with Mrs. Ochs.

“I remember kind of thinking in second grade that I wanted to be a teacher,” remembers Meghan Vinson, an education major at Eastern Illinois University. “I just kind of wanted to be like Mrs. Ochs. Just that feeling of being able to know that I wanted to come to school each day; it was going to be a fun day in her classroom.

“She really reached out to all of us and just really showed that caring hand to us. Just made me feel important and instilled confidence in me that I could achieve whatever dreams I had.”

Vinson’s dream is now nearly a reality: She’ll soon have a degree from EIU and a classroom of her own. Along the way, she’s made a name for herself as a Golden Apple Scholar.

“My (high school) ag teacher was actually a Golden Apple Scholar when she was in college,” said Vinson. “She nominated me for the scholarship, and then a couple weeks later I heard back that I was one of the 175 scholars chosen.”

The Golden Apple program has seen Vinson participate in summer institutes at various universities; in 2014 she was at DePaul, and in 2015 the program was hosted by St. Xavier University. This past summer, Eastern was the site. Part of her work in the 3 1/2-week institute was to spend every morning at the Ashmore Community Center with five other participants.

“As future educators, we tried to tie an academic twist onto each day,” said Vinson. “We might do a fun game in the beginning, but then do something that maybe related to math or reading throughout the day.”

In addition to the influence of her past teachers, Vinson says the atmosphere within EIU’s education program has always made her feel at ease and confident.

“I’ve been able to have a comforting feeling,” said Vinson. “I’ve been able to make connections with classmates; we’ve been through all the same classes together.”

This semester, she’s back in Ashmore every Wednesday afternoon, helping out with the village’s after-school program.

“I’m really excited for that experience, to be able to reach back out to those kids and be that support system for my students,” said Vinson. “Kind of instill that confidence in them, because that really made a difference for me.”

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