TOTALLY EAST TEXAS: All Saints students get to ‘the heart’ of a project
The daughter of an All Saints teacher, who was born with a heart defect, inspires a project for her entire English class to encourage other “heart children”.
TYLER, Texas – Think back to high school English. Remember being assigned the paper that required research, hours of writing, and the hope of an “A”?
But what if your English teacher gave you a project that was so impactful that it would change not only you but a child’s life as well?
This is Totally East Texas.
“I wanted to create a project where my students could relate something we do in the classroom to the real world,” said Emily Twomey, English teacher at All Saints Upper School. “And I thought a month with a congenital heart defect would be a great opportunity to do that.”
Sometimes a project is more than a class, and sometimes the teacher who assigned it is much more than the class leader.
“I have a daughter with special needs and a congenital heart defect. I felt really inspired by what and everything we went through on her trip,” said Mrs. Twomey.
In addition to teaching English at All Saints Episcopal School in Tyler, Emily Twomey is Madeline’s mother.
Your baby girl is one of more than 3,600 precious Texas babies born with a heart defect each year, according to the Congenital Heart Public Health Consortium.
“So I reached out to Texas Children’s Hospital and all of the heart mums and heart families there. And I asked if anyone would like to participate in this project. So I got all of these mothers to write their stories about their children and everything they do medically have in front of you, “said Mrs. Twomey.
The students chose a child as the focus of their project. Mrs. Twomey had her examine her child’s heart defect and report it to the class.
“And then they made a project, a service part, where they created something, anything they wanted, using the school’s technology to give something to the kid,” Mrs. Twomey said.
“I just think it was a good learning experience, learning how to influence others and work for others,” said Sarah Jordan, a student at All Saints Episcopal School.
Sarah Jordan was inspired by Braden.
“He’s five years old and gave us a bio of similar things that he likes. One of the things he liked was Iron Man,” Jordan said.
Sarah decided he needed an arc reactor, just like his favorite superhero.
“It kind of reminds me of the Iron Man suit, it’s in the middle of the chest and it reminds me of a heart,” Jordan said.
She knew exactly where to create it and who to contact to collaborate in the Fab Lab.
“Sara, I have her for another entrepreneurship class so she reached out to me during that class and asked if she could use the Fab Lab’s resources for this project. And I asked her to send me her plans “said Patty Mabry, director of the Center for Innovation at All Saints Episcopal School.
Patty Mabry is the director of the Innovation Center at All Saints.
“So Sarah came in in her spare time. She came in during college, before class, before school, and after,” said Mrs. Mabry.
It took the use of technology and tools like this AP printer, fiberglass, wood, and lights to recreate something warm for a little boy who has been through so much.
“So he can take this to his doctor’s appointments and just keep it to himself and play around with it and just use it as a comfort,” Jordan said.
Mrs. Twomey says, “And it lights up and it makes him feel strong like Iron Man and that made me emotional too. It was so beautiful.”
“I mean, if you learn how to solve a problem, but number two, do empathetic design and find that passion, you know and you know that we ignite passion, that’s what we do and we don’t just want All Saints affect, not just Tyler, not just East Texas, but everywhere, “explained Mrs. Mabry.
The students created shirts, a basketball goal, a bird house, unique art, and even a college-going letter for Mrs. Twomey’s little daughter who inspired the project.
“Having two students whom I love very much connect with another part of my life, which is my daughter, and she is all of my heart and soul. And it was just nice that she made so much effort and empathy and caring Thoughts put in this letter for her, “said Mrs. Twomey. “I feel like I’ll always have a piece of it forever to give back to my daughter.
So many families affected by this one project … in an English class … in Tyler, Texas.
“They have such big hearts, they really do,” said Mrs. Twomey.
This is Totally East Texas.