East Texas Baptist University’s Learning and Leading classes hosted Fall Festivals for three of Marshall ISD elementary schools including Robert E. Lee Elementary, J. H. Moore Elementary, and Travis Elementary on Thursday, October 12 to serve over 1,600 elementary students and their families.

“Preparing for and participating at the festival taught me how to be a good example as I interacted with the elementary students,” ETBU Mass Communication major Mason Hays shared. “Learning and Leading supports my desire to lead and continually provides me with the resources necessary to grow in my faith and in my career.”

More than 400 ETBU students from 22 Learning and Leading sections set up booths for families in the community to play games and win prizes. The festivals provided an opportunity for ETBU freshmen to practice the knowledge and skills taught in their Learning and Leading course.

“This hands-on experience helps our students connect their actions with the idea of leading in humility as servants of Christ,” ETBU Coordinator of Testing and Academic Support Jacqueline Ramos expressed. “I enjoyed witnessing my students serve together. They each had the best attitude about making the Fall Festivals fun for the kids that came by their booth, from cheering them on to letting little ones stand on a chair to reach the game,” Ramos continued. “I am grateful to be a part of the Learning and Leading team. Teaching has given me the opportunity to be another resource on campus for students and show them Christ’s love.”

The Learning and Leading course is offered to freshmen and transfers during their first semester at the University. Taught by an ETBU faculty or staff member, each section meets in class for an hour once a week. In addition, each section participates in a service project during the semester. The primary purpose of the class is to acclimate students to life on the Hill and examine the leader attributes that will assist them in their future career calling.

“Learning and Leading is about developing our students to be Christian servant leaders,” ETBU Registrar Troy G. White said. “The Fall Festivals allowed students to apply what they have been learning in class. I was able to see a different side of my students as they spent time with the kids. Teaching the course has made an already enjoyable job even more rewarding because I am able to share God’s word each week.”

The Fall Festivals are part of the Learning and Leading curriculum. The students are taught the Servant Leadership Model, in which collaboration with others is emphasized. Through the festivals, students learn to coordinate with one another to determine which booths they will create, the supplies needed, and to delegate tasks.

“The festival was a great representation of what we have learned in class so far, especially because we had to work as a team for the event to run smoothly,” ETBU Mathematics Secondary Education major Jason Moore said. “It was rewarding to watch how excited the elementary students were as they played games and realize the impact of giving back. Learning and Leading is giving me tools I need to be a role model and to lead by example for my future students.”