The flagship program is in its first year at Flagler Palm Coast High School.
Flagler Palm Coast High School teacher David Vigo took a seat in a desk next to his students, while a senior and a junior walked to the projector to be the teachers for the day. The classroom became a middle school dance class as students Desiree McIntosh and Taylor Saffelder presented a lesson on different dance positions for their peers to learn.
While the FPCHS Future Educators of Flagler flagship program is in its first year, Vigo is excited about its impact on students.
“We get to see what the teacher sees and how they have to think through everything and why they assign certain things for us,” Saffelder said.
She hopes to take level two of the program next year, when she’ll be a senior. Eventually, she wants to become a band director.
While McIntosh doesn’t want to become a teacher, she took this class to learn teaching skills for when she becomes a nurse in the U.S. Navy and has to instruct people on the job.
“It kind of helps us get a taste of what teachers have to go through,” McIntosh said. “It puts us in a position where if it really came down to it, we would know what to do.”
The two agreed that it’s beneficial when their teacher, Mr. Vigo, sits at a desk and raises his hand to ask questions during their lessons.
“I’ve tried over the last couple days to act as a seventh-grader, who maybe needed a little extra help, or maybe someone who thinks they know everything — to try to throw them to see how they’re going to adjust,” Vigo said.
He said this course was built based on the Daytona State College syllabus for introduction to teaching.
“The goal is that by their junior or senior year, they’re going to be able to take a college-level course and get credit toward the teaching program at Daytona State,” Vigo said. “The push was to have a push for minority students to enter the educational field because Daytona State was offering a scholarship for minority students, so that’s going to be a push as we get started for next year — to get more minority student involved.”
He said he’s been in contact with Buddy Taylor Middle School Principal Bobby Bossardet in the hopes of visiting the home of the Eagles to present information on the flagship, and encourage more students to enroll when they start high school.
Vigo has been a teacher for 18 years and earned a master’s degree in early childhood education. He said he's thrilled to lead this flagship.
“I’m passionate because this is all I ever wanted to do my entire life,” he said. “I believe there’s not a profession, to me, that’s as rewarding.”
The joy is in the moments when former students come back to say, ‘thank you’ or when he sees a student succeed after leaving his classroom.
“I’ve woken up tired; I’ve never woken up not wanting to come to work, because every day is different,” he said.
This is a notion he’s trying to pass on to the future educators.
“There’s no one who didn’t have a teacher. Regardless of how successful they are, how much wealth they had, the one thing we all have in common is we had teachers, we had educators, we had mentors,” Vigo said. “And if you look at your job like that and your position like that, it’s much more encouraging to continue to do it every day, knowing that there’s a surgeon in this room that’s going to save somebody’s life. There’s a police officer who’s going to do something heroic. There’s a soldier who’s going to put their life on the line for what we believe in. If I wake up every day remembering that, then all the other stuff doesn’t matter as much.”