WATERVILLE — Four Thomas College students and their professor recently attended the National Council of Teachers of English convention in Atlanta.

This year’s theme at the National Council of Teachers of English was advocacy. More than 30,000 English teachers, literacy instructors, and teacher preparation educators joined together for professional development and dialogue in Atlanta, Georgia Nov. 17-20. NCTE had more than 200 sessions to choose from to attend over the course of three days.

While NCTE has been held for more than 86 years, this was the first year that Thomas College was represented at the conference, sending a professor and four pre-service teachers, or education majors. The college sponsored, in part, the trip for the four students, according to a Thomas College news release.

Advocacy means a lot to professor Dr. Katie Rybakova, a new faculty member at the Center for Innovation in Education at the college.

“This is my fourth year traveling and presenting at NCTE. I am truly thrilled that Thomas College provided the opportunity for four of my students to travel to Atlanta this year with me to experience this conference,” said Rybakova in the release. “It’s an invigorating experience to be surrounded by teachers who are excited to teach, brimming with enthusiasm for literacy, and passionate about kids and this profession.”

Due to NCTE being a very large national conference, a lot of authors and publishers attend. Every year at the exhibit hall, which teachers can go to at any point during the conference, free books, posters, and other classroom items are handed out for free.

The students collected bags full of books — each took away almost three full bags of books, probably close to 100 books each, to start their classroom libraries once they graduate.

About Thomas College: Founded in 1894, Thomas College is at the forefront of affordability, access to college education, and providing students with a good return on investment. The private, career-oriented college is committed to preparing its undergraduates for careers in all forms of business, technology, criminal justice, psychology, and education. On average, 94 percent of Thomas graduates are employed within 90 days of graduation. The college is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and awards a Master of Business Administration (with concentrations in Accounting, Health Care Management, Human Resources, and Project Management); a Master of Science in Education, Educational Leadership, and Literacy Education; a Bachelor of Science, a Bachelor of Arts; an Associate in Science, and an Associate in Arts. For more information, visit www.thomas.edu.

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