Most students can attribute their academic success to a teacher who believed in them. For many LCOT students, that teacher is Rick Swain. Read in his words, what it means to be a part of this transformation.
The other day I received an excited, yet tearful, call from a student (Blanca Albarran) who had participated in an Intensive College Preparatory Class with me prior to the 2009 Fall Semester at TJC. Blanca, now in her fourth semester at TJC, was calling to inform me that she had been accepted into the very competitive and somewhat exclusive Nursing Program at TJC; she wanted me to be the first to hear of her life-changing news.
My name is Rick Swain and I have been affiliated with the Literacy Council of Tyler (LCOT) since February 2007. I started as a Math tutor on Monday and Tuesday evenings. In August of 2007 I was asked to take over an Adult Beginning Education (ABE) class to teach the full curriculum that covered G.E.D. preparation; in the succeeding twenty months I would see twenty-six students earn their G.E.D. certification while working with me. It was my honor and privilege to witness many of these students, amongst others, proudly participate in G.E.D. Graduation ceremonies where they walked across a stage attired in caps and gowns to the applause and cheers of family members and friends.
I came to LCOT to connect with and to impact others, never imagining the impact that my students would have upon me. I have regularly witnessed tremendous examples of courage, sacrifice, and persistence displayed by many students that were entrusted into my care. It is almost indescribable for me to relate the profound effect that so many students have had upon me when a “light came on” or blossoming confidence transcended into empowerment.
Just when I thought it was “as good as it could get” another blessing unfolded; LCOT pursued a state grant that hoped to prepare G.E.D. Certificate earners to transition into college —- I was hired in a full-time capacity to design, recruit, and instruct this Pilot Program in May of 2009. Almost two years later, twenty-seven “survivors” of this rigorous Intensive College Preparatory Program, including Blanca, confidently and purposefully stride across the TJC Campus.
To be a part of an organization that not only wages battle against the whirlpool effects of illiteracy but stands for the pursuit of academic excellence fans and sustains my passion on a daily basis. The Literacy Council of Tyler is comprised of talented, committed, and insightful Administrators; tireless, caring, and gifted instructors and staff; as well as an army of selfless and giving volunteers; it is truly my pleasure to work and serve among such an extraordinary brotherhood. We collectively stand for transformation and development of all who pass through our doors.
Rick Swain/LCOT Instructor