Brought to you by: 

Fuse Fest 2017: Remarks from Class Speaker, Erica DeVoe

On June 15, 2017, Highlander Institute hosted our 2nd annual Fuse Fest, an event to recognize the graduating Cohort 2 Fuse Fellows and Partner Districts. Cohort 2 Fellows nominated a class speaker by secret ballot, and the winner was Erica DeVoe, a high school English teacher from Westerly who supported the Portsmouth School District through Fuse RI.

Erica is a leader in the Rhode Island personalized learning movement. Over the course of the Fellowship, we could count on her to be both a passionate advocate and a critical friend, as she consistently provided feedback to make the program even better. She cares deeply about students and educators and her support and willingness to collaborate have been invaluable to her Fellow Fellows and colleagues.

Thank you Erica for your fantastic remarks, and thank you again to all Cohort 2 Fellows and Districts who have been committed to championing personalized learning over the past 2 years. Congratulations!

Watch or read Erica’s Fuse Fest speech (written in rhyme!) below:

‘Twas the night before Boot Camp, and all through the state

Several teachers were stirring, pondering their fate

The computers were charged in their bags placed with care,

In hopes that at Boot Camp, more would become clear.

The teachers all snuggled, deep into their beds

With visions of awkward icebreakers pinging their heads

While Cathy, Dana, Shawn, Eric, Laura and Maeve

Ran around getting ready, hoping their vision wouldn’t cave.

The next morning all arrived at New England Tech

And received the first of many shared slide decks

Away to the playlist, flew the new Fellows

After the niceties and requisite “hellos.”

Though our brains overloaded with data and terms

I think all can agree and our smiles now confirm

This was the beginning of something quite fun

An experience with rigor, a lottery we’d won.

We soon got assigned to districts near and far

Some might have felt lost behind Shawn’s racing pace car

The thinking had to be fast, but the work sometimes felt so slow

But we did it, we got there, and have so much to show.

We’ve presented at conferences, been into schools

Been lighthouses and liaisons and sometimes felt like fools

We’ve led Twitter chats and blogs, school visits and such

Every corner of the edu-sphere seems our influence touched.

Now Dina and Cassie, Darshell and Bill Black

Ms Willner, she made it!, And can’t forget Ms. Pat

Amanda and Chris and David and Lynne

All get to sit back with a Highlander grin.

And to whom are we grateful? Who should we thank?

There’s so many names, hope I don’t draw a blank.

First there’s Dana and Shawn, without whom, who knows?

They’re the ones who imagined this whole crazy show.

They believed in us first, trusted us real quick

Pushed us to work hard and taught us brand new tricks

About learning and teaching and playing and fun

Because after all, without that, the work’s swiftly undone.

Then there’s Laura and Cathy, a dynamic pair

Both of whom exude tender loving care

In a hot sweaty attic, they ran us through the paces

Mock phone calls and interviews, but always smiling faces.

Maeve, Dawn, and Kara are the next trio to thank

Their encouragement and organization helped us not to tank

As advisors they stood by our work, coached us too

So we can’t end without a thank you for getting us through.

Then there’s the guys – Eric, Josh, and Mike

Josh with his data and Mike who no one can dislike

And then there’s Eric, the Butash, the man

Behind tech smarts and flex funds lies a Goonies super-fan.

Oh and we can’t forget the most important people to us

Our families, the people who support without fuss

They covered us at home, might have lent us an ear

Told us to hang in there, saying “you’ve got this, my dear.”

And last to our home schools and districts we support

Our level of gratitude we must not distort

You accepted our requests to leave or come in

And now look where we are, think of where we’ve been.

We stand here as teachers, but we are so much more

We’re thinkers, we’re doers, we’re leaders, we’ll soar

So as we end this journey and reflect on what it means

Remember our clients, those kids, teens and tweens.

We do this for them, as much as for us

Because they are the future in whom we place our trust

So farewell all you folks, thanks for making us great

We look forward to our futures, now let’s celebrate!

Written By: Erica DeVoe