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Teach for America recruits two Berks students

With a record 35,000 applicants and only 4,100 openings in the Teach For America program this year, it's unlikely that two students from one campus would be accepted in any single year. However, Dillon Kenniston and Matthew Werner, Penn State Berks seniors, beat the odds and will spend two years teaching in urban or rural schools as teachers in the Teach For America Program.

Kenniston is a Schreyer Scholar who will graduate with bachelor's degrees in Professional Writing and Communication Arts and Sciences, and Werner, currently studying abroad in Ireland, will graduate with a bachelor degree in Global Studies. Both expect to be assigned to urban Texas public schools.

Teach For America is an organization that recruits outstanding recent college graduates from all backgrounds and career interests to commit to teach for two years in urban and rural public schools with the aim of working to eliminate educational equality. The organization provides the training and ongoing support necessary to ensure their success as teachers in low-income communities.

"The ideal 'land of opportunity' falls desperately short when children rise and fall in academic performance based largely on social conditions that extend far beyond their control," says Kenniston. "I wanted to join Teach For America because justice and fairness are not merely abstract ideas-they are concrete principles whose realization is my top priority."

Werner recalls his inspiration to apply to the program: "I had a desire to help the kids who needed my help the most. I grew up in a good community in central Pennsylvania. However, our rival school in the city had terrible graduation rates and low numbers of students going on to higher education. I decided to apply to Teach For America so that I can give students the hope, confidence, and knowledge they need to become great students and people."

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