SAC Receives U.S. President’s Volunteer Service Award

April 3, 2024

Office of Marketing & Strategic Communications

Each semester, education students at San Antonio College get first-hand experience teaching in local public-school classrooms. Now those efforts have led to national recognition.

SAC is one of 69 organizations nationwide to receive the U.S. President’s Volunteer Service Award, which honors organizations that contribute a significant amount of time to volunteer service.

Two other Alamo Colleges, Northwest Vista and Northeast Lakeview, also made the list, along with a number of iconic companies,  including Amazon, The Home Depot, Toyota, USAA, and Walmart.

The award came through the education program’s collaboration with Junior Achievement. SAC earned a bronze-level award for providing more than 1,500 hours of volunteer service in the community during the 2022-23 school year through the nonprofit’s JA in a Day program.

Pres Vol Service Award 2.jpgJA provides SAC students with lesson plans and materials to teach two separate days in two separate grade levels and places students in classrooms, usually within economically disadvantaged schools.

The program helps both the community and SAC education students, said Dr. Kim Hochmeister, program coordinator for teacher education and professor of English, humanities and education.

Students within local schools benefit from grade-appropriate lessons on economic concepts, money, work, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy. 

SAC students get valuable classroom experience that helps them meet a state requirement for 32 hours of in-classroom instruction time to earn their associate degree in teaching degree.

“They experience the culture of two schools, they experience the students in different grade levels, and they really get a sense of developmentally appropriate materials,” Hochmeister said.

All Alamo Colleges students enrolled in EDUC 1301 and EDUC 2301 participate in JA in a Day as part of a field service practicum requirement. By the time they finish the education courses required to earn their associate of arts in teaching degree, they will have completed 32 hours of working in an actual classroom through the program.

Pres Vol Service Award 1 web.jpgClassroom time helped SAC student Cassie Rosa realize that she’s committed to teaching as her future profession.

“This has confirmed that this is what I was born to do. My heart is in teaching,” Rosa said. “I was able to see a whole new perspective on being inside of a classroom rather than just reading about it.”

SAC student Brando Serrato also gained a new understanding of teaching strategies and techniques as he led students through activities such as managing a pretend business and making virtual investments.

“Teaching the JA program changed how I see education,” said Serrato. “It made me understand the value of teaching financial education, the effectiveness of interactive learning and the ways every student learns differently.”

The award is the result of a team effort, Hochmeister said.

“Our AAT students, education faculty members Dr. Goldsberry, Professor Lauer and I, along with JA officer Felicia Breaux, collaborated to introduce future teachers, our SAC students, to the San Antonio public schools community,” she said. “All the while, we received continued support from Dean Jonathan Lee and Chair Erik Hillskemper.”

SAC students are among the many volunteers nationwide who deliver Junior Achievement programs to students in kindergarten through high school. JA programs bring work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy education to more than 4.4 million students in the United States each year, with the goal of giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to achieve economic success, plan for their futures, and make smart academic and economic choices.


Upper right:
SAC student Kimberly Rosas Ruiz teaches a class at Kriewald Road Elementary.
Lower left: SAC students pose for a photo at Bob Hope Elementary. Left to right - Daniela Dempsey, Paige Riley, Erin Child, Joshua McCaskill, Briana Marquez, Mickayla Soto, Sara Bukuru, Lauren Snider, and Aylene Rainey.