Elks Lodge awards Lee Means teacher $500 for math program

The Harlingen Elks Lodge 1889 recently awarded Felix Rodriguez, a teacher at Lee Means Elementary, $500 to benefit his math tutoring program.

Last fall Rodriguez volunteered his personal time to tutor one of his students, and after a couple of study sessions, he decided that most of his students could use a jump-start in division. Consequently, he invited the rest of the class to a Saturday of Math Learning Camp.

Rodriguez and several volunteers requested to use the Elks Lodge building for four hours to host a tutoring session for the students. On the day of the camp, Rodriguez engaged students with educational technology.

“The kids had a wonderful time using his personal smart board and response clickers,” said parent and Elks Lodge member Tammy Schmidt-Swope. “His hands-on approach to math was fantastic. Mr. Rodriguez exemplifies the kind of teacher we want in our school district.”

Students celebrated a job well done at the end of the session by enjoying lunch and throwing water balloons.

In December, the class met again, but this time, they invited students from Austin Elementary, Bonham Elementary, and Stuart Place Elementary to join them and work on fractions.

After witnessing the success of the workshops and Rodriguez’s enthusiasm to dedicating time and money to the success of his students, Esteemed Leading Knight Lee Wallace offered to help.

“Little did I know that the Lee was going to present me a $500 check to continue helping these kids with math,” said Rodriguez. “Needless to say, I was overjoyed and shocked because no has ever really done that for me. The donation allowed me to buy some great materials, prizes, snacks, food, and drinks for the kids. It will also allow me to hold more workshops for the kids in the near future. Thank you, Lee Wallace and the Elks Lodge for your help.”

Progress was evident as parents and Elk Lodge members saw an increase in the 4th-grade students’ math vocabulary and learning during the second sessions.

More math tutoring sessions are in the works for this year.