Teacher empowers students to speak their minds

Teacher empowers students to speak their minds

Discover the NEISD way, where our educators have an innate passion that inspires the students around them.

English teacher Dana Williams is passionate about teaching her students to speak their minds.

“If they use their voice, they can get what they want out of life and they can make change happen,” Williams said.

At Tex Hill Middle School, a brigade of students wanted to do just that.

“It started as a warm-up in class. I called it mission impossible. I said ‘pick a problem in the world,’ and they all wrote about it and we all shared. Then we saw world hunger seemed to be the one. So I said, ‘what are some ideas to solve world hunger?’ and a couple of kids said insects,” Williams said.

The kids inquired why other countries ate insects but not we didn’t here.

Williams’ students came together and formed an after-school club called the ‘Bug Brigade.’

“Entomophagy is the practice of eating insects which is done all over the world except here. We have this ‘ew’ factor. I personally don’t like bugs, never thought I’d eat a bug. I jump if there is a spider but if you kill it and put it on a plate, I think it’s delicious,” Williams said.

The club’s goal is to raise awareness about the world hunger crisis and highlight the nutritional benefits of eating insects.

“If we are going to ask other people to eat bugs, we have to be willing to eat bugs ourselves. Once we knew the nutrition and knew that they were harvested….it wasn’t like they were picking up a bug off the floor and sticking it in their mouth, then they were interested,” she added.

Thirteen-year-old Cassidy said she was hooked on the club’s cause after she tried her first mealworm.

“It tasted like the flavor which is cheddar cheese or sour cream and onion and then it was crunchy. It tasted exactly like a flavored chip, it was pretty good,” Tex Hill student Cassidy Kercsmar said.

Her family recently attended one of the Bug Brigade’s recent events.

“When we had the ‘Entomoph-a-con’ event, of course they came and so did my sister who is a very picky eater. She actually tried a bug and I think she enjoyed it. My parents also enjoyed the bugs,” Kercsmar said.

She hopes eating sustainable food alternatives like insects becomes more normalized.

“The sad thing is, I don’t get to eat bugs on a regular basis because it’s such a little-known practice,” she said.

“A crisis like world hunger isn’t going to be solved by simply eating some bugs. What I wanted the students to know is that if they are passionate about something, if they believe in a cause, they can make a difference,” Williams said with tears in her eyes.

Each voice, Ms. Williams says, matters.

“Ultimately, my passion is making my students know that they are powerful and that their voice matters. Whether it’s eating bugs or conserving the earth or changing anything in the world that they deem necessary. That’s what I want them to take away from this.”

Ashley Speller