Bison Alum Teaches Students the Power of Giving

Bison alum Brandy (Thurman) Osterberger has taught her students many things, but perhaps none of them are more important than the concept of helping people in need. The 2003 graduate taught freshmen and sophomores at New Tech High School in Coppell, Texas, the value of helping Children's Medical Center in Dallas firsthand while also learning math skills.

In early spring, New Tech students and faculty members held a Mardi Gras-themed dinner as well as a silent auction to raise funds for Crohn's disease research and the medical center. New Tech presented the Children's Medical Center with a $10,000 gift, a portion of which will go to fight Crohn's disease, a disorder that causes inflammation of a person's digestive tract.

What began as a geometry project soon turned into a full-fledged event. Using lessons they had learned in class, Osterberger's students, whom she refers to as learners, created a quilt and donated it to the center as well.

"I had all of the geometry classes learn about transformations and tessellations by designing a quilt block," Osterberger said. "They first designed it on graph paper and then had to transfer it onto material. The learners then had to write a personal story about their quilt block. So, both quilts have books that tell the story of the quilt and who the person is behind the creativity.

"We had a local volunteer sew the quilt blocks together and then sent it off to have it framed," she said. "We ended up with two quilts. They were both framed, but one was donated along with the check to Children's, and the other will stay with us at school."

The students were involved in the creation of the highlighted live auction item of the night, and were also involved in decorations, advertising and selling tickets to the event. Each class was also responsible for putting together a themed basket for the silent auction.

"Some of the learners went to Children's to take the framed quilt and the check," Osterberger said. "After the presentation, they were given a tour of the hospital and what exactly our monies would be involved in.

"Seeing the faces of not only the hospital employees and the patients, but also our New Tech learners is something I will take with me always," she said. "The experience has forever been imprinted on my heart."