By Celine Klosterman
Knowing that education can help break the cycle of poverty, Bettendorf native Tyler Harmsen devoted some of his time at the University of Notre Dame to teaching those in need.
After spending one summer teaching English in Tanzania and another instructing disadvantaged students in Florida, he now teaches algebra at Mount St. Mary Catholic High School in Oklahoma City through the Alliance for Catholic Education. ACE offers graduates from Notre Dame and other universities the opportunity to spend two years teaching in underserved schools, living in community and growing spiritually.
For Harmsen, who graduated in 2012 with majors in economics and Arabic, the program offered a way to apply a love of service and teaching.
“I like learning things and being able to turn around and tell someone else about it,” he said. “To get them to say, ‘I understand you’ – that’s very gratifying for me. And if you can send a child to school to get a good education, you have almost a better chance of stopping poverty than anything else.”
In Oklahoma City, Harmsen teaches 108 students, mostly freshmen, who come from various economic backgrounds and attend school in an inner-city Hispanic neighborhood. The teenagers are well behaved, he said. “I’ve grown to love my community here. It’s exciting going to work every morning.”…
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