Ready, Set, Teach is a two-block class at Friendswood High School that allows high school students to help in elementary school classrooms four days of the week. In those classrooms, the Ready, Set, Teach students aid in working with the students and teachers in an effort to prepare themselves to work in education one day. Amongst these students is senior Sam Legendre.
Legendre has been a part of the Ready, Set, Teach program for two years. During her time in the program, Legendre has been working with Carolyn Lowe’s Quest class at Westwood Elementary, a class designed specifically for students with special needs.
Students with special needs are near and dear to Legendre’s heart.
“My sister is autistic and my mom worked with a girl who had Angelman Syndrome, so just surrounding myself with people who have special needs has made me appreciate them more because they’re just like us,” Legendre said. “I love working with kids and I feel like I can relate to the ones who need a little more help.”
Lowe has been able to observe this first-hand as she watches Legendre help students complete job tasks, assist with social lessons, redirect students during whole group activities and be a role model and leader for everyone.
“Sam understands the needs of the students without being told,” Lowe said. “If a student experiences frustration, Sam knows when to give wait-time. When a student needs to be pushed academically, Sam knows when to challenge. She never shows frustrations.”
Brooke Holtvluwer, Legendre’s Ready, Set, Teach teacher, also spoke on Legendre’s preparedness and patience.
“She’s a kind person with a loving heart. She has this way about her where she can just take things in, realize it’s not a bad deal or a personal thing, and move forward,” Holtvluwer said. “Not every high-school student is able to work successfully with the Quest students, but she has been able to do that in so many ways.”
Legendre credits this ability to the way she was raised.
“Growing up and having my life experiences, I didn’t have the option to take things hard: You take what’s given to you and you do something with it,” she said. “I treat other people the way I want to be treated. I do things out of love and that’s what I’ve been asked to do, so it’s what I’m going to do.”
Legendre’s mentality of doing things out of love has shown brightly for all who surround her.
“On Valentine’s day, Sam made handmade cards specific to the students’ interests and hand delivered them to every student in my class,” Lowe said. “Her commitment, positivity, kindness and empathy towards our students isn’t something that can be taught.”
Legendre does the little things to get the little things in return. She said she believes it really is those small improvements that matter most when working with her students.
“I just take one step with everything we do; we don’t have to go one mile every day as long as we take one step,” she said. “I’m able to compromise and be patient and understanding.”
Holtvluwer and Lowe both said Legendre’s abilities go beyond just being patient and understanding: both believe she has a natural gift for working with special needs students and hope she will return to teach in Friendswood ISD one day.
“I would love to see her get her degree in special education and come back to teach in Friendswood. I would love to see my Ready, Set, Teach students in a couple of years learn from her,” Holtvluwer said. “She would be an amazing role-model to any student wanting to go into Special Education.”
“I hope Sam continues her education path especially with special education students,” Lowe said. “I can’t wait for the day Sam teaches me, as her youth, enthusiasm and new ideas will definitely help grow me just like she is growing all the students she encounters.”
Legendre plans on pursuing a degree in Special Education and returning to FISD to teach post-graduation. (I think it’s safe to say we would be thrilled to have her back.)