Kayla Helm ’10 (York Springs, Pa.) was inspired to pursue a dual degree in elementary and special education by a 12-year-old student with autism.
“I had a wonderful opportunity to work with a mental health agency as a therapeutic support staff for five years where I met a child who changed my life,” she said. “Working with children with special needs has changed and inspired my life.”
Kayla was motivated to combine her love for special needs with a career in education by York College professor Robert Lindsay.
“I remember meeting Mr. Lindsay for the first time,” she said. “I knew that education was the right path for me after listening to his life story and how he impacted so many lives. Mr. Lindsay was always there if I had a question, concern or needed advice. I hope that in my career I have the opportunity to touch as many lives as he has.”
Because Kayla had a dual degree in elementary and special education, she completed student teaching with both groups. She taught first grade at Conewago Township Elementary School in Hanover, Pa., and then had two special education placements at New Oxford LIU #12 in New Oxford, Pa., and Eisenhower Elementary School in Gettysburg, Pa.
“Having two different placements for student teaching allowed me to build and create my teaching style and find strategies that helped build a positive classroom environment,” she said. “I also learned how to adapt lesson plans to suit every child in the classroom.”
Upon graduation, Kayla was offered a job through the Lincoln Intermediate Unit #12 at Yorkshire Academy at the York Learning Center. She is employed as a multiple disabilities teacher of students ages 13-16.
“As a first-year teacher I have learned perseverance and dedication,” she said. “Being a teacher is not an easy job, but I love it because I am changing the lives of the students everyday!”
Kayla reminds those interested in education that a successful college career requires years of hard work.
“You can’t expect to be a success without devotion and sacrifice,” she added.
By Megan Black '12, Office of Communications intern
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