Kupper attends national conference

The Concordia Education Club had an apple party earlier this year, and it was one reason senior Molly Kupper was selected to attend a national education conference.

Kupper was one of four Minnesota students chosen to attend the Connections Conference, a national education conference in Orlando, Fla., from Oct. 4 to Oct. 7. The conference is for educators from around the United States to come together to network and collaborate with colleagues from different states, Kupper said.

Emily Ilse, a senior, has known Kupper since her freshman year and was pleased to see Kupper honored with the trip to Florida.

“Molly is the most organized and on-top-of-it person I know,” she said.

The conference focused on themes of professional development and classroom ethics, as well as juggling self, work and relationships in life. It was helpful to learn about trends in her profession, Kupper said.

“They have a lot of new things they want to do,” she said.

Kupper was chosen to go to Florida while attending the Education Minnesota conference on Sept. 24 and 25 in Minneapolis. Ilse, who attended the Education Minnesota conference with Kupper, said Education Minnesota was a small conference for leaders of college education clubs to combine ideas.

Kupper, Concordia’s education club president, and Ilse, the secretary and treasurer, shared their idea of an apple party with others at Education Minnesota. It was because of this idea other attendees of Education Minnesota recognized Kupper and voted for her to represent Minnesota at the Connections Conference, Kupper said.

The apple party was the club’s first meeting of the year and the apple theme represented the traditional idea of an apple for the teacher, Ilse said. At the apple party, members learned basics of the club and got to know each other. The club served apples and caramel dip, apple cider, apple crisp and caramel apple suckers. They gave two Applebee’s gift cards as door prizes and played the Apples to Apples board game.

The 35 members in attendance at the apple party were a good turnout for an education club meeting, Ilse said.

“The Concordia Education Club has not been all that successful in the past in terms of numbers,” Ilse said. “We have a hard time getting people to come to our events.”

At Education Minnesota, Kupper and Ilse were placed in small groups to discuss different strategies of education club leaders. There was a question about what has been successful in their club. They told about the apple party and people seemed interested in their idea, Ilse said. By the end of weekend when the clubs met again, their idea had proven popular.

“Almost every single club had an apple party planned,” Ilse said.

Kupper said there are fewer students from northern Minnesota in attendance at Education Minnesota than those from the Twin Cities. This also led her to be chosen to represent Minnesota at the Connections Conference, she said.

“I said it would be great to spread our delegates throughout the state,” Kupper said.

Kupper was the only student from the northern part of Minnesota in attendance at the Connections Conference in Florida. The other three from Minnesota were from the Twin Cities area. She received free airfare to and lodging in Florida, as well as free meals and a night at City Walk, a downtown entertainment venue, at Universal Studios.

Information binders are being made for future Education Club leaders at Concordia, so information Kupper has learned from both the Education Minnesota and Florida conferences can pass to future education classes, Ilse said.

Kupper will be fulfilling her student teaching requirement for her education major in the spring, and said she plans to apply ideas from the Connections Conference to her experience, including information about proposed changes to the No Child Left Behind Act.

Teri Langlie, instructor in the education department, has taught Kupper in three education classes, including a class last spring when Kupper completed her clinical teaching experience at Dilworth Elementary School.

Langlie said Kupper is an organized, knowledgeable student who is passionate and caring about her vocation.

“She wants to do what is best for kids in all situations,” Langlie said.

Langlie said she is proud of Kupper, because she is the first student from Concordia to attend the conference in recent memory.

“It’s quite exciting for [someone from] our club to be chosen to attend a national conference,” Langlie said.

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