First Grade Meets Real-Life Changemakers: Part II

01/29/21 08:14:pm
| Category: News

On Wednesday, January 27, First Grade teachers Jared Hubbard and Catherine Yoon concluded the final installment of their Changemakers Panel series featuring Neurologist, Dr. Mia Miller (Erikson M.’s mom), singer, musician, composer, and arranger, Raya Yarbrough (Sonatine M.’s mom), and eighth-grade English teacher, Cheri Gurganus (Skyler G.’s mom). As with the first set of panelists, each parent was asked to answer the following questions:

1. What is your name and what do you do?

2. What were your interests/passions as a kid?

3. How have you been able to use your passion/ talents to do something meaningful/make a difference in the world?

4. What is one challenge you faced and how did you overcome it?

5. What is one fun fact about your job?

During Dr. Miller’s presentation, she shared with students that her passions as a child were science, building blocks, and taking care of her little brother. As an adult, her passions are exactly the same, and as a Neurologist, she gets to combine all three in her work where she studies the functionality of the ear, has the opportunity to build eardrums, and enjoys taking care of her patients. Dr. Miller gave a demonstration on how the ear works, showed students the amazing devices she uses as implants during surgery to help her patients hear, and was sure to advise against the use of Q-tips! Don’t say she didn’t warn you!


During Ms. Yarbrough’s presentation, she shared with students that she is a Mirman alumna, and some of the first times she ever performed were during her time here at Mirman! As a singer-songwriter, Ms. Yarbrough says that what makes her a changemaker is having the opportunity to create art, and that art is an essential way of expressing what is going on in the world and helps a person communicate their own perspective and story. She shared that even now, the pandemic is such a hard thing to experience but signing, writing, and other forms of art can help us better express our feelings about what we’re all facing. Yarbrough closed by sharing the music video for her song, “Big Hug,” a song she wrote about staying strong in continuing to fight for the things that matter.

Finally, during Ms. Gurganus’ presentation, she spoke about her journey to becoming a teacher and that other educators inspired her to change her career path from business to teaching. Ms. Gurganus shared that teachers have the awesome responsibility of guiding students and that her responsibility is not to teach her students what to think, but rather, how to think. She said that it is her job to help her students come up with their own answers when learning something so they get their brain muscles working! Ms. Gurganus closed by highlighting that teachers are superheroes because there is so much responsibility that comes with being a teacher. We couldn’t agree more Ms. Gurganus!

Following their thoughtful and engaging presentations, students had the opportunity to ask the panelists questions, and as you can imagine, there were quite a few endearing and hilarious moments captured. Read below for some highlighted excerpts.

(for Dr. Miller) Do you have any other jobs?

Yes, I’m a mommy and that’s a big job!

(for Dr. Miller) How do you get to the eardrum?

I drill a hole but that was more information than I was planning on sharing!

(for Ms. Yarbrough) What type of music do you play or sing?

My latest album uses violin, viola, and upright bass. I also sing Jazz and sing on the show “Outlander!”

This was such a fun series to experience with our First Graders, we can’t wait for the next one!

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