The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

February 20, 2014

NEO students giving back by volunteering at Miami school

MIAMI, Okla. — Once each week, Kelsey Matthews heads to a kindergarten class to spend some time with the youngsters.

“I come from a pretty large family, and being a couple of hours from home, it’s just really nice to go and be with those kids because they’re all so excited to learn,” said Matthews, a sophomore at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College from Lincoln, Ark. “After you go for a couple of times, they tell you what they did over the weekend or crazy kid tales.”

Matthews is part of the Agriculture Ambassadors, a leadership program at NEO that has added a new volunteer activity to its members’ responsibilities: reading weekly to pupils at Washington Elementary School in Miami.

The Agriculture Ambassadors is for students who are majoring in agriculture. Students are selected based on their grade point average and community involvement. They act as advocates for agriculture, and participate in national and state FFA conventions, Aggie Olympics and student body government meetings.

This semester, the students have been enthusiastic to learn about and connect with the Washington pupils as individuals, said the program’s sponsors.

“This weekly responsibility is rewarding for our NEO Ag Ambassadors because it is not only beneficial for the children, but our students too,” said Alisen Anderson, an agriculture instructor and program co-sponsor. “It’s like weekly therapy for them to see the improvements being made and to watch the growth and confidence of the kids in need of the attention and help with reading.”

Matthews, an agriculture and communications major, said she reads to her kindergartners, who sometimes read stories back to her as well. She also helps them with art projects or crafts, she said.

Marijo Leedy, a sophomore agriculture major from Morrison, Okla., said assisting at the elementary school — first with fifth-graders and more recently with kindergartners — has been a rewarding experience.

“It just really warms your heart to be around little kids because they have so much life in them, and they’re so fun to be around,” she said.

Washington Principal Vicki Lewis said the NEO students are a “great benefit” to her young pupils.

“Our school motto — ‘Washington Elementary students are on track to be college-, career- and citizen-ready’ — is shown daily in these NEO students showing up to help our students,” she said in a statement. “Besides the help in reading they offer our students, they also serve as role models in giving back to the community.”

Program history

THE READING SESSIONS at Washington Elementary School are a new component for the Agriculture Ambassadors program, which was launched in 2007 at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College as a way for top agriculture students to be represented within that department.

Text Only
Local News
  • Ballot issues dominate GOP event

    A maze of campaign yard signs lined the sidewalk at Big Spring Park, leading up to a line of local candidates for public office with rolled-up sleeves shaking hands with potential voters.

    July 24, 2014

  • Mike Pound: It’s time for some football

    The arrests, the announced suspensions and the contract disputes can mean only one thing: Somebody is ready for some football.

    July 24, 2014

  • Landfill opponents seek answers

    The Baxter Springs High School auditorium was filled with hundreds of Cherokee County residents Thursday night as Galena city officials answered questions and listened to comments regarding a proposed landfill at Riverton.

    July 24, 2014

  • Hanaway says leadership missing under Gov. Nixon

    When Republican gubernatorial hopeful Catherine Hanaway walked into the banquet room at Granny Shaffer’s Restaurant this week, she was greeted by some of Joplin’s more prominent business leaders.

    July 24, 2014

  • Neosho athletes bring home silver

    For 19-year-old Dominque Dechant, it was the trip of a lifetime. She and three other athletes from Neosho traveled last month to Newark, New Jersey, as part of the Missouri Special Olympics girls basketball team.

    July 24, 2014

  • r072414msw.jpg VIDEO: Carterville company expands to third generation

    What began as Ray “Mac” McCoy’s side job in his home 55 years ago has grown not only in square footage and reach, but in generations. This summer, a third generation took over the reins of MSW — Mac’s Specialty Woodwork — that now exceeds 90,000 square feet and creates custom furniture for chain restaurants coast to coast.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Shrine Bowl band, cheerleaders, players arrive in Pittsburg this week

    Band members were the first Kansas Shrine Bowl participants to arrive at Pittsburg State University this week.

    July 24, 2014

  • Galena council rescinds landfill decisions

    The Galena City Council voted Wednesday to rescind decisions it made two weeks ago regarding a proposed landfill at Riverton.

    July 23, 2014

  • Miami council waives fees for barbecue event

    The Miami City Council voted Tuesday to waive $3,750 in usage fees for Miami Elks Lodge No. 1320 for an upcoming barbecue championship at the Miami Fairgrounds.

    July 23, 2014

  • Carthage prepares for Marian Days

    The 37th annual Marian Days celebration will start in two weeks, and planning is well under way for the event that will bring tens of thousands of Catholics of Vietnamese descent to Carthage.

    July 23, 2014

Must Read


Amendment 8 in Missouri proposes a special lottery ticket to help fund state veterans homes. How will you vote?

For it.
Against it.
     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter