Being a math interventionist Harry Hurst Middle School is the fulfillment of a dream for Makesa Melancon-LeVeck.
“I’m from St. Charles Parish and I’m a product of St. Charles Parish Public Schools,” she said. “I wanted to definitely sow seeds here. I had some awesome teachers here in St. Charles Parish and I wanted to come home finally.”
Coming home meant returning to the parish after spending 20 years in the Army and living and teaching in other places, including Fort Hood. At HH she works with 6th, 7th and 8th grade students who struggle in math.
“When I started teaching, I started teaching the inclusion classes,” she said. “There were students who were on grade level and students who were below and students who were SPED identified … I loved teaching and spending time with those students who needed special help. You can’t push them … you have to meet them where they are. I enjoyed it so much.”
And while she said her original goal was to be a kindergarten teacher in the district, she said that another available position found her instead.
“I did a long-term sub and then the teacher decided to not come back,” she said. “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I get to work with all the kids.’”
LeVeck said the nature of her job means she typically works with students for more than just one year, which lends itself to relationship building.
“They don’t just exit the program normally,” she said. “If you need math intervention, you normally need it for a few years. I’m a cheerleader … I am the ultimate cheerleader and motivator. I go to football games at Destrehan and people ask who my kid is and I say, ‘I have a whole bunch down there.’”
LeVeck said whatever a student’s interest is, she tries to show interest in that so that they know she cares about them as a person.
“If they’re in band I try to go to at least one band concert. Whatever sport … I’m there. Just working with those kids and seeing them come in and be so defeated and then to see them get it and have their teachers come in and say, ‘Oh my gosh, did you see the grade on the last test?’ … who could not want to do that?”
HH Principal David Schexnaydre said LeVeck does “an incredible job” of building relationships with students.
“She is also a great leader on our campus and is part of setting the tone for a positive environment every day,” he said. “Also, three years ago she started the Hurst Step Team. Our Step Team has performed not only at our school performances, but performances at other schools and around the parish.”
LeVeck said the goal of starting the Step Team was to get more kids active and involved in school.
“Hurst has never had a step team in the school’s history,” she said. “I wanted to do it to bring some culture to the schools. It was huge in Texas … it was amazing. We started it and opened it to all students. We had it the first year and a lot of students weren’t too sure what it was, but we did some things and the students went crazy over it.”
The team grew from 10 to 50 students within a year, and LeVeck said the young people were able to get involved with helping with Toys for Tots as a group.
“We’re the only group or club at Hurst that does Toys for Tots,” she said. “Students donate toys, but we also go to volunteer and give out toys.”
Aside from the Step Team, LeVeck is also one of the HH volleyball and track and field coaches, as well as a summer track and field coach for the St. Charles Striders – a recreation track team that consists of school aged children from both sides of the river and surrounding areas. She also serves as a member of the SCPPS LEAD SCP Planning Team, a district leadership academy that guides and encourages teacher leaders to hone their leadership abilities through research, reflection and practice.
In whatever capacity she is working with students, LeVeck said she likes to keep and teach a military mindset.
“I tell them, ‘Never give up. Never stop fighting … you will succeed. If you give up, you have no chance,’” she said.
LeVeck will receive a $25 gift card to Birdies.