Finding Greatness: Leslie Guevara Rogers

Author: News Bureau
Posted: Monday, April 22, 2024 12:00 AM
Categories: Pressroom | Students | Finding Greatness | School of Education and Behavioral Sciences

Macon, GA


Leslie Guevara Rogers, who is graduating this spring with her education degree, is a President’s Scholar for the Class of 2024 and will serve as the student speaker at MGA’s spring graduation ceremonies.

Full Name: Leslie Guevara Rogers.

Age: 27.

Hometown: Eastman.

Current City of Residence: Macon.

High School: Dodge County High School, Class of 2015.

Family: Husband, Gunnar, and fur babies, Blue and Addie.

Employment: “I am a fulltime 3rd-grade paraprofessional at Porter Elementary while completing my senior year of student teaching. However, I was entrusted with a third-grade classroom with the assistance of a long-term substitute. This opportunity has helped me better prepare for my first year of teaching. I also work as an enrichment tutor for the after-school program at Porter Elementary. I have taught Spanish and Math 24 classes.”

Degree Objective: Bachelor of Science in Elementary and Special Education with a reading endorsement.

Class Rank: Senior.

Activities: “While a student at MGA, I participated in Service Day, volunteered as an assistant with Junior Knights Camp, and taught the following year. In the fall of 2022, I volunteered as a judge for MGA's FIRST Lego League regional tournaments under the supervision of Dr. David Biek.

“The staff of the School of Education & Behavioral Sciences nominated me as a peer mentor in my junior year. I mentored prospective education program students. In my senior year, I became a mentor to teacher candidates.

“I also completed several honor projects throughout my time as a teacher candidate, such as:

  • Fall 2022: Participated in the virtual study abroad course with Universite' de Reims Champagne-Ardenne (URCA)
  • Spring 2023: Presented at the FGE (Future Georgia Educators) conference under the supervision of Dr. Sumitra Himangshu-Pennybacker.
  • Summer 2023: Junior Knights Assistant- assisted Ms. Greene with scheduling volunteers and various camp activities.
  • Spring 2024: Currently assisting Dr. Causey in creating flyers and promoting well-known author Carmen Deedy as she visited Porter Elementary in March 2024.”

Career Goals: “My ultimate goal is to become an elementary schoolteacher. However, to reach my goal, I had to overcome several obstacles. After taking a three-year medical leave, I returned to MGA as a full-time wheelchair user. Starting the education program was the first time I was away from home as a paraplegic. Since becoming a full-time wheelchair user, I relied on my mom or husband to be at my side wherever I was. Everything is different for a wheelchair user: bathrooms, doors, stairs, ramps, elevators, classroom isles, rolling on carpet or grass, and non-accessible dining areas. Thankfully, I managed to adjust to my newfound independence. Additionally, my professors and peers were incredibly supportive throughout the process. The summer before my senior year, I began driving an accessible van, facilitating my travel to work at Porter Elementary.”

She chose Middle Georgia State University because … “It was close to home and affordable."

The greatest thing she discovered about Middle Georgia State was … “The professors' passion for teaching. As a future teacher, this only ignited my love for teaching more. When I began the education program, I noticed every professor wanted us to become successful teachers. My professors showed grace, encouragement, and motivation and demonstrated how to be good teachers.”

Her greatest academic experience as a Middle Georgia State student has been … “Student teaching. I love that MGA's education program sends us to elementary schools during our first semester. As teacher candidates, we enforce what we learn in class in our classrooms. I have talked to other students from various education programs in the state, and I can confidently say that MGA prepares us to become the best teachers. Student teaching taught me confidence, patience, and overcoming the unexpected.”

To her, greatness means … “Being tenacious, confident, optimistic, and humble. While pursuing my degree, I have been unwavering. I have not let the challenges of being a full-time wheelchair user deter me from achieving my academic goals. In addition, I have remained confident in myself and my abilities. Despite facing some setbacks along the way, I have never let my disability define me or limit what I can achieve. Instead, I have always maintained a positive outlook and remained optimistic about my future. At the same time, I understand the importance of humility and recognizing that I have not gotten here alone. The support of my family, peers, professors, and colleagues has been instrumental in helping me pursue my dreams.”

In five years … “I see myself working as a full-time elementary teacher, honing my skills, and constantly striving to be a better educator. I also plan to pursue further education and training to improve my teaching abilities and become a more effective teacher. I plan to continue developing my hobbies and interests, spend time with my family and fur babies, and give back to my community by volunteering and participating in local events.”