Baylor Students Encourage Third-Graders to Seek Limitless Horizons

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    Third-grade students at Marlin Primary Academy stand beside a table piled high with school supplies donated by Baylor students. (Courtesy photo)
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    Third-graders in Gaylen Tenberg's class line up at the world map to find the hometowns of Baylor students who donated supplies to their classroom. (Courtesy photo)
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    Tenberg's students do a sic 'em to thank Baylor students for donating school supplies and writing notes of encouragement. (Courtesy photo)
Sept. 30, 2016

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Media contact: Eric M. Eckert, (254) 710-1964

WACO, Texas (Sept. 30, 2016) –Baylor University students helped a class of Marlin ISD third-graders learn about the world of possibilities, both literally and figuratively, beyond the walls of their classroom.

Martha Agee, J.D., senior lecturer in accounting and business law for the Hankamer School of Business, presented the students in her Legal Environment of Business class with an unusual extra credit opportunity. Instead of writing papers or reading additional class material, Agee’s students could earn additional points by donating school supplies and notes of encouragement to a class of third-graders taught by Gaylen Tenberg at Marlin Primary Academy, a public elementary school in Marlin, Texas.

“It was a real blessing to both my students and her students,” Agee said. “I’ve gotten really great feedback on every direction from it, and I think my students really enjoyed it.”

Tenberg, who is Agee’s sister-in-law, turned the students’ encouraging notes into learning opportunities for her third-graders. Agee asked her students to name their hometowns in their notes. Tenberg used that information to help her students learn how to find those locations on a world map.

“The third-grade students were so excited about using the world map to locate hometowns of the Baylor students who wrote them notes encouraging them to study hard and do their best,” Tenberg said. “They couldn't believe people would travel around the world to attend Baylor University, and one student made the connection that Baylor must be the best college in the world.”

Cici Chen, an international transfer student from China who’s majoring in marketing and statistics, also provided an opportunity for students to learn about languages by writing some Chinese characters in one of the notebooks she donated.

“I only put some simple words in Chinese with English explanations,” Chen said. “Professor Agee told me that this will be a great way for those children to know the world much better.”

Tenberg also used the opportunity to teach her students how to write thank-you notes to Agee’s class.

“I think the most beautiful part of this project is the moment I received the thank-you note from John, the boy who received my school supplies,” Chen said. “At that point, I felt loved as this little boy wrote the words, which encourage me as well.”

Agee has been distributing these thank-you cards to the 50 students who participated in the project. Together, the students donated enough supplies—everything from notebooks to crayons—to bury a table in piles.

“I got so much stuff I couldn’t believe it,” Agee said.

Meredyth Carroll, a junior marketing major, donated folders, spiral notebooks, pens, pencils, markers, crayons, colored pencils, scissors and glue.

Carroll said she enjoyed the opportunity to reach out to the community and encourage kids.

Agee said another student brought in a “Finding Nemo” backpack filled with everything from construction paper to colored markers and crayons.

Tenberg said her third-graders were excited to have a spiral notebook for each subject, rather than having to cram multiple subjects into a single notebook.

“Because of the generosity of the Baylor students and Professor Agee’s decision to invest in the lives of these precious students with school supplies, they are motivated to do their best,” Tenberg said.

by Kalli Damschen, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.


Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business provides a rigorous academic experience, consisting of classroom and hands-on learning, guided by Christian commitment and a global perspective. Recognized nationally for several programs, including Entrepreneurship and Accounting, the school offers 24 undergraduate and 13 graduate areas of study. Visit and follow on Twitter at

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