Palestine Magazine January 2019 - Page 39

Angela Nixon earned a criminal justice degree from Sam Houston State Uni- versity in Huntsville. She then worked for years in North Carolina and Texas prisons, before deciding she wanted to work with kids. “I wanted to be an asset to children, so they could avoid incarceration,” she said. Nixon left prison work, became an inclusion teacher at Palestine High School in 2017, and established a nonprofit mentoring program called Progressive IMPACCCT (Implementing Meaningful, Positive, and Creative Change for Children and Teens). More than 60 minority youth have participated in the group’s activities, such as the Martin Luther King Jr., Day Parade, a formal swearing-in ceremony, and a leadership and empowerment workshop for girls, where speakers encour- age teens to stay in school, go to college, and follow their dreams. Progressive IMPACCCT made headlines last year, when it launched the May- or’s Book Club, inviting Mayor Steve Presley to read to students at Southside Elementary in Palestine. In 2018, Nixon became site coordinator for AM Story Intermediate School’s after-school program, also known as Texas ACE (Afterschool Centers on Edu- cation). There, she works with more than 200 fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-graders. Nixon takes mentoring seriously, conducting weekly meetings with youth at the Treehouse Apartments, 1910 South Sycamore Street, in Palestine. Using real-life siutations, she teaches young people to make good decisions. Nixon has big plans for the mentoring group. “Our mission is to partner with individuals, families, schools, and the com- munity to implement a positive impact on our children, teens, and their fami- lies,” she said. Angela Woodard A calling to teach Trinity Valley Community College teacher Angela Woodard could have retired years ago. No way. “I absolutely love it,” Woodard told the Herald-Press. “I’m going to keep going until I can’t go anymore, or they carry me out.” Woodard, 70, has taught English, business, and developmental studies for 32 years. She has great affection for academics, but said her true calling is Bible studies. “I’ve been teaching Bible studies for about as long as I’ve been at the college,” she said. “I truly believe teaching is my calling, but even more so teaching the word of God.” Woodard teaches not only at her congregation in Southside Baptist Church but also in several other venues around town. “Typically, I teach between three and five study groups at a time,” she said. “I have four I’m teaching right now.” Woodward is humbled to be named one Palestine’s difference-makers, but recognition for her efforts never crossed her mind. “I do it because it’s my calling,” she said. JANUARY 2019 39