An American flag.

Run the Race, Keep the Faith, Endure to the End

Devon Bowens (Dallas-Ft Worth '17) talks about the four values that have inspired his dedication to a life of service as a National Guard soldier, an Army officer, and a classroom leader.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

If you were to ask me a year ago where would I be in life, I would have never imagined to be leading the charge against educational inequity by teaching 6th grade mathematics in South Dallas. Fast forward a year and that is exactly what I am doing, as a first-year Teach For America corps member educating children about all the amazing wonderings of math, while also helping my students grow professionally as young men and women.

My passion to serve disenfranchised communities stemmed from when I was 18 years old and enlisted in the Texas Army National Guard. Prior to enlisting into the National Guard, I was a college freshman here in Dallas, Texas, at Paul Quinn College. I remember taking a class called the "Introduction to Quinnite Servant Leadership," where we learned what it means to be a champion and advocate for our community. There were four particular statements that stood out to me and have stuck with me while I continue this fight toward educational equity:

  1. Leave places better than you found them.
  2. Lead from wherever you are.
  3. Live a life that matters.
  4. Love something greater than yourself.

These inspirational words have left an imprint on my heart and drive me to be a servant leader to others. During my time in the National Guard, I served as an enlisted soldier for four years, and as I was learning so much from my senior leadership, I knew that some day I could be the one leading my own troops—to inspire and motivate them to accomplish the mission.

I decided to take on the challenge and become an Army Officer, where I served as a platoon leader for two years before making my transition out of the army. I learned so many valuable skills and gained critical leadership qualities that have helped me in my work as an educator.

Now, I am here in the classroom motivating my students to not only become the best math students they can be, but also the best individuals that they can be. I can teach my students content all day, but what really helps my students develop in the real world are the connections, relationships, and challenges that I put in front of my students every day to help them become servant leaders and champions in their own communities. 

I do not know where life will take me next, but what I do know is that my time spent in the Army coupled with my time spent in the classroom is helping me shape the next generation of future leaders—or as I like to call them my L.I.T. (Leaders In Training). My students are learning to lead from the front and love something greater than themselves. My final charge for all current and future leaders is to run the race, keep the faith, and endure to the end. 

Devon Bowens Teach For America – DFW ‘17