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Senior Lara Goetsch Receives National
Recognitions for Work with Jumpstart

RELEASED: April 16, 2007

Lara Goetsch with her Jumpstart 'buddy'
Lara Goetsch reads on a park bench with her Jumpstart 'buddy.' (Contributed photo)

EAU CLAIRE — A University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire student has been recognized for commitment to her community through Jumpstart, a national early education organization that pairs trained adults one-to-one with preschool children in need of assistance.

Lara Goetsch, a senior art major from Minneapolis, has been named among 10 finalists from around the U.S. to receive the prestigious Spirit of Service Award. The award recognizes the outstanding leadership demonstrated by college students serving as Jumpstart Corps members.

Dr. Donna Lehmkuhl, site manager for Jumpstart at UW-Eau Claire, said Goetsch will attend an awards ceremony in Los Angeles in June, where five winners will be announced. Winners will receive a $5,000 scholarship from American Eagle Outfitters, a national partner with Jumpstart; the five additional finalists will receive $1,000 scholarships.

Goetsch has been a Jumpstart Corps member since her freshman year and is preparing to graduate in May. During her four years with Jumpstart, which has 60 members in Eau Claire and over 3,000 across the country, she not only worked with preschool children in the Eau Claire area developing critical early literacy skills, but also provided leadership and guidance to fellow corps members as a mentor. She started story times at local Starbucks stores for preschool children as part of her commitment to literacy and children.

"I can clearly see the powerful impact on the children because of the fact that they have someone believing in them and motivating them to get excited about learning," Goetsch said. "I am part of something amazing."

Goetsch also is one of 24 college students across the United States this year to receive the Pearson Teacher Fellowship, a partnership between Jumpstart and the international media company Pearson to help dedicated college graduates continue their efforts in achieving Jumpstart's mission of working toward the day every child in America enters school prepared to succeed.

Lehmkuhl said the prestigious Pearson Fellowship program provides more teachers for early childhood education, expands the number of children reached by a well-trained adult and offers invaluable experience to the Fellows.

In June, Goetsch will attend a two-week training in Boston for Pearson Fellows and then return to the Midwest to teach in a low-income preschool.

"The children I have encountered through Jumpstart have changed my life. The primary reason I wanted to become a Pearson Teacher Fellow was because of them. They have shown me that I can make a lasting, positive impression on children's lives, and as a Pearson Teacher Fellow I will be able to continue making this impact," Goetsch said.

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JW/JB

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