La PINE, Ore. (KTVZ) — Jessica Colburn, a teacher at La Pine Middle School, has won the prestigious James Madison Foundation Scholarship, considered one of the highest honors a social studies teacher can receive. Colburn is one of 54 teachers from across the country to receive this honor this year.
Named in honor of the fourth president and “Father of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights,” the highly competitive scholarship fully funds the pursuit of a master’s degree in American history and government.
Colburn earned the scholarship by completing a series of short essays demonstrating her intention to pursue a graduate program centered on the Constitution, dedication to civic responsibility, and the ability to study and perform as a teacher. His final essay was a 900-word article explaining why the Constitution is paramount to American life.
Colburn, who was also named teacher of the year by the Oregon Council of Social Studies in 2018, said she was excited about the scholarship and how it will enhance her knowledge of the origins and development of constitutional government. American.
“This award will have a positive effect on my teaching career as it will equip me with the knowledge to explain and relate the Constitution to the lives of my eighth graders today,” she said. . “The education that I will be able to give them will be infinitely stronger.”
Now in her eighth year of teaching (all with Bend-La Pine Schools), Colburn didn’t always plan on becoming a teacher, originally going to school to become a doctor.
After several years in the hospital lab, she decided she was happiest volunteering at High Desert Middle School. After taking a lesson on the Constitution, she knew that teaching middle school social studies was the right place for her.
“College kids are an interesting group to teach because they’re constantly trying to figure out their place in the world, what they like, and who they are,” Colburn said. “I am happiest when I see them make a positive change that will help them move forward. When they begin to apply the Constitution to current events or make a claim with evidence, I see them establish a link to how the past influences their lives, even today.
Colburn will begin graduate school at Ashland University in Ohio this summer.