Senior Carly Manhart passionate about teaching in underprivileged classrooms
Carly Manhart didn’t intend to go to college. In fact, without the efforts and attention of one mentor, Manhart believes she would be working a minimum wage job not far from where she was raised. She grew up in Wallace with a home life that she says wasn’t ideal, in system that lacked resources. Getting a degree was not on her radar.
Instead, Manhart is graduating from University of Idaho College of Education in May with a degree in secondary education emphasizing in art with a minor in engineering and technology education. She will be teaching in an underprivileged school in the Treasure Valley in the fall.
Manhart was selected to participate in Teach for America, an organization that works in partnership with communities to expand educational opportunities for children facing the challenges of poverty. Teachers who are selected commit to teach for two years in a high-need public school. They spend five weeks at a rigorous, resident teacher-preparation program and receive year-round professional development.
Manhart believes in the mission of serving underprivileged children. She chose placement through the program during her junior year to ensure a job would be determined before graduation as well as to secure a position in a type of setting she feels passionate about.
“The school I came from was low-income. I really resonate with that population and relate to inequity,” she said. “I feel this is what I need to do. I need to go to where the kids need it most.”
In high school, Manhart was the one who needed that special guidance. One teacher — Corki Matilla — took notice of Manhart her sophomore year. Manhart says Matilla took her under her wings and encouraged her to get involved in activities and gave gentle pushes throughout school.
As a result, Manhart became president of the Technology Student Association and president of the Associated Student Body. But still, she had no plans for post-secondary education. Manhart says Matilla and another teacher “ganged up” on her and helped her apply for scholarships, fill out the FAFSA and apply to University of Idaho — the single college she set her sights on. Slowly, Manhart came to the realization that with determination, she could afford to attend college even without family support.
“If it wasn’t for Corki, I would be working a minimum wage job,” Manhart said as tears welled in her eyes. “When she did that for me, I decided I wanted to do that for other students.”
Instead, she had the tenacity to complete her degree in the College of Education while often holding a full-time job. She is completing student teaching at Pullman High School this term and will go through additional training this summer through Teach for America in Tulsa, Oklahoma, before going to the Treasure Valley in the fall to settle in to lead a classroom. Her classroom assignment and grade level hasn’t been identified yet.
“It’s more about than just getting a job. It’s about the kids.”