Panel shares stories of impact

Jul. 19—Two former TV news anchors, a businessman, college student and university vice president shared how they make an impact every day through their work Wednesday at Crossroads Fellowship.

The panel was part of Ector County ISD's Leadership University. It was moderated by ECISD Superintendent Scott Muri.

Leadership University runs through Thursday.

Speakers included Page Fehling, a former TV anchor now keynote speaker, Rusty Dunn, owner/operator of Chick-fill-A at Odessa Town Center; Tatum Hubbard, chief of staff and vice president of communications and marketing at University of Texas Permian Basin; Becky Spurlock, senior vice president for student affairs and enrollment management at UTPB, and Raeslyn Miller a student at Oklahoma City University.

All had separate breakout sessions Wednesday.

Hubbard and Spurlock talked about opening up the university to people who may never have considered it an option.

Spurlock talked about living on her own starting at about age 14. She managed to get herself to a university and they supported her to change the trajectory of her life pretty dramatically.

"I have a PhD from a top 10 institution after failing college algebra multiple times. I get up every day and I'm very clear that my job is changing the trajectory of people's lives in big and small ways ... and as Tatum says, that changes generations of lives," Spurlock said.

Miller is a student at Oklahoma City University and a graduate of ECISD. She is majoring in vocal music education and looking to complete a second degree in vocal performance.

"My primary role is a student, but I take on many other roles. I am a choral director for a private institution in Oklahoma City. I am a private cheer coach, so I teach little kids how to flip themselves over. I'm also a private voice teacher and art teacher and I'm a student athlete on campus so there have been multiple ways throughout my time in college and here in the city of Odessa and in Oklahoma City that I've been able to impact people," Miller said.

Dunn has worked for Chick-fill-A since he was 15 and has been with the company more than 50 years. Many of his employees are, or were, ECISD students.

"I've had so many people that have come through that came from broken homes and many of our students ... come to work as their safe place. They're just looking for somebody to love them," Dunn said.

S. Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fill-A wanted to serve a good product and make an impact in the communities they were in.

Discussing inclusion, Miller said it's important to welcome and celebrate every difference. "... We live on the planet together, so I think that it is very important to bring the world into your classroom. The world of education is so large. You look at academics, fine arts, extracurricular activities, after school events; anything that goes on that may not be specially education. We need to bring the world — the entire world — into our little environments whether that be a classroom, a school team, a choir, an art classroom, your job. Celebrating our differences. Whatever you bring into your environment is going to make an instant impact on everybody," Miller said.

Spurlock said the single most important thing she brings to the table every day is courage.

She added that it's important to maintain the courage, empathy and humanity not to forget that it's a person in front of you.

"It's not the next problem of the day," Spurlock said.