Books come to life for education majors

Published 10:04 am Tuesday, July 12, 2016

PORT NECHES — During childhood, school supplies like books, pencils and paper sparked the imagination of Elizabeth Hudspeth and Taylor Baumgardner.

As little girls growing up in different areas of Southeast Texas, Hudspeth and Baumgardner would play teacher, spinning tales of leading made-up classroom where they taught others.

Now, as college students at Lamar University, the women are honing their teaching skills while working in the children’s section of the Effie and Wilton Hebert Public Library in Port Neches.

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Hudspeth, a Hamshire-Fannett area resident who works part-time in the mornings during the summer at the library, is eager to begin her chosen career.

“I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. I’m just a kid person,” Hudspeth said. “I not only love children but truly care about them and if something’s not working out I will go home and figure out how to make it work.”

At the library Hudspeth does the typical duties of shelving books and assisting patrons but also helps run the children’s program on Wednesday mornings and the teen program on Thursdays thus giving her real life experience working with youth.

“One of my favorite parts of working here is that I love my boss (Carolyn Bedwell). We work so well tougher,” she said. “She encourages me.”

Baumgardner, a Nederland resident, is a licensed cosmetologist who is making a dream career move to teaching and later to becoming a librarian.

“Since I was a young kid I would ask for school supplies and play teacher. I was fascinated with chalk, markers, and love to read,” she said. “I had a professor last semester that really inspired me so much, Dr. Andrea Karlin. I love how she loves books and I want to get kids to read because with reading you create your own world that you have control over. I think those who don’t like to read maybe haven’t found the right book. I want to be able to inspire someone the way she did with me.”

Baumgardner said she still loves cosmetology but has always wanted to do something in the education field.

A permanent part-time employee, Baumgardner works afternoons where she puts her crafting skills to use, helps with the teen program and does what she can to help the children’s librarian, Bedwell.

Shelby Hutcheson, an employee at the library, feels both Hudspeth and Baumgardner are great at what they do.

“Elizabeth and Taylor have been such a help with the Teen Summer Reading Program,” Hutcheson said. “Their passion and enthusiasm for children shines through all of the work they do at the library. The teens in the program love having both of them and so do I.”

Bedwell, a friendly, outgoing woman, laughs and jokes with the women as if she had known them for years. She is thankful for their work and expertise and feels her prayers were answered when they came along.

“My assistants have been wonderful in the children’s department this summer,” Bedwell said. “Both young ladies are going to college to be early education teachers. Elizabeth is passionate about her future and making an impact on the kids and Taylor has a bright, sunny disposition that rubs off on others. These young ladies are both eager to learn more and more every day, as well as to help me in every way they can. To say that they made my life easier this summer would be an understatement.”

Mary Meaux: 409-721-2429

Twitter: @MaryMeauxPANews