|Posted on 2/6/2018 7:33:00 AM.|
(Seguin) -- When Mark Weber, an English teacher at Seguin High School, completed his master's degree in educational leadership at WGU Texas he was excited and proud but he had no idea that he would be Western Governors University's 100,000th graduate. Weber claimed that 100,000th spot among all others students who have continued their education through the online, nonprofit university established by 19 U.S. Governors 21 years ago.
WGU Texas is one of seven state affiliates -- and Weber is pleased to have represented the state in this milestone for the university.
WGU Texas Chancellor Dr. Steven Johnson was among those who stopped by Weber's classroom on Friday to congratulate him. Dr. Johnson also presented him with a $2,000 check to be used in the classroom -- a classroom that many have described as being innovative and creative. For example, he says Weber uses virtual reality goggles and software to take his students on "virtual field trips."
"So what we talked with Mark about and the principal is it would be dedicated for him to come up with new and innovative technologies for the class whether that's an extension of what he's already done because when he talked with me, he only had a couple of pair of goggles, could buy only so much software. So I really thought and we thought at WGU how great if we could help him expand that. If there's other things that he could see that makes sense. In a class like this, he told me the ability for them to write a persuasive paper about visiting Venice (Italy) and being able to put goggles on and virtually go there and then write the paper was so much more impactful -- same thing, they had to write some short papers on works of art and sculpture. He said they can put on the goggles and walk around the sculpture and see it from three dimensions. It's those kind of innovative things at WGU that really make our mission complete to know that people are changing lives and using technology to do it," said Dr. Johnson.
Like most students at WGU Texas, Weber balanced a demanding job and family while earning his degree. Before earning his bachelor's degree and starting his teacher career, Weber also served in the U.S. Navy.
Weber, who graduated on Jan. 31, 2018 says he appreciates the recognition by WGU and is grateful for the opportunities that the online university offered.
"It's really unexpected. I hadn't even put any thought into that. My only thought was finishing as fast as I could finish. I'm sure that had a big part to play in it, because the program should've taken me two years and I finished it in nine months. So this is really unexpected and it's an amazing experience and more so for my students. It's going to allow me to expand some of the activities that we're doing in here incorporating more technologies," said Weber.
SHS Principal Hector Esquivel says he couldn't be more proud of Weber. He says the acknowledgment by WGU couldn't have happened to a better educator.
"It's funny because I brought him over here from my prior school. So I think he's been in education for 10 to 12 years. I first worked with him when I was a principal in San Antonio. So as soon as I had the opportunity to bring him to Seguin after my first year, I felt like I needed him up here to work with -- a lot of our at risk students. He's done just that. He made a lot of students who in the past didn't believe, now they believe that they can graduate not only from high school but go to college. So that's just the thing about him that he makes students believe, because he came up from similar backgrounds, grew up at risk. But that's one of the reasons he's here because I felt like Seguin needed him here because they were students that really needed to hear his message and get excited about education again," said Esquivel.
Dr. Johnson says WGU Texas is so thrilled to have WGU's 100,000th graduate right here in the Texas affiliate and so close to the state's home base in Austin.
Since its launch in 2011, WGU Texas has been helping increase the number of college graduates in the Lone Star State. Today, WGU Texas has nearly 10,000 students and 7,700 graduates.
|Seguin ISD, Seguin High School, Western Governors University, WGU|