LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)- The Vermilionville Education Enrichment Partnership, or VEEP, hosted its second session at the Vermilionville Living Museum and Folklife Park. This is a service-learning collaboration between Vermilionville, the ULL Lafayette Education Department, and the Lafayette Parish School System.
Tapping into Creole, Acadian and Native American Culture is exactly what VEEP is all about. Over 60 GEAR UP students are looking back through history while taking steps towards the future.
GEAR-UP is Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs.
“To be ready to enter into and thrive, in some form of post-secondary that prepares them for careers and really prepares them for life,” said Traci Aucoin, GEAR-UP Project Director.
GEAR-UP students involved in VEEP are from Carencro, Acadiana, Lafayette and Northside High-School. Vermilionville began this initiative in 2012 where they strive to provide experiences that directly connect students to their education.
“Unfortunately, because of budgetary cuts and things of that nature.. fewer and fewer kids are really able to enjoy cultural excursions,” said Melanie Harrington, Vermilionville Educational Coordinator.
Vermilionville realized they had a large variety of resources, but lacked numbers in educators. This led to the collaboration with ULL Education Department.
“Dr. Leigh Tolley, Assistant Professor of ULL College of Education said, “For our students at UL Lafayette, it’s a great experience to work hands-on with actual students.” Education majors designed lesson plans focused on secondary Social Studies and English Language Arts.
“We understand that literacy is is everywhere. It’s not something that’s just in the English classroom or the reading classroom,” said Dr. Toby Daspit the Associate Professor at the ULL College of Education Department.
Melissa Broussard experienced VEEP when she was an undergrad at ULL and now she teaches at Lafayette High School. “I know whenever we did it, a few years ago, our kids really liked it. So it shows them that learning can be fun,” she said.
Not only is it fun, but organizers say it reinforces the idea that local learning can be transformative. “People realize that this is a very wonderful resource, that connects very directly to the curriculum.”