DECATS: It is a family business

Mrs. Shotland has two families: her own and the DECATS family.

Mrs. Shotland has taught at DECATS for over 22 years and shares the story of her experiences, how the camp has changed over the years, and what is in store for the future. Mrs. Shotland has been teaching this camp for a long time; however, few know about her life outside the three weeks at DECATS. Mrs. Shotland has five children, four of who have gone through DECATS. One of her sons, Joe Shotland, teaches Psychology with her and described the DECATS experience with his entire family.

“My mom, obviously the director of DECATS, [works] with Mr. Solomon really hard to create a good program and she’s very passionate about it,” he said. Joe also revealed that despite all the work he and his siblings have to do around DECATS, he does it all for his family. “Sometimes,” he explained, “it’s stressful but it’s just part of being a family and growing up. DECATS is a community and my mom is a part of that. Now I am a part of that community. It’s something you do, you know? You work hard for the people you love.”

Outside of DECATS, Mrs. Shotland teaches at the University of North Texas and helps at-risk students at Lake Highlands High School.

Even with an amazing job and a camp to run, Mrs. Shotland claims her biggest accomplishment has always been her family.

However, even with the hard work of taking care of her own family, Mrs. Shotland continues to watch over DECATS since the beginning of the camp. She revealed how DECATS has grown and changed from then until now.

At the start of DECATS, Mrs. Shotland explained that the majors used to be called specialties and the time in classes was much shorter. “Now,” she added, “we have a larger variety of unique classes and the time for each major has changed.” According to her, the majors have also drastically evolved. Math, Music/Art and Social Studies are no longer majors available at DECATS, but now new majors such as Fashion Design have been introduced to the camp. “We had Fashion Design as an elective and people really liked it. We threw it out there as a major and people signed up for it,” she said.

Mrs. Shotland has taught many classes such as Drama, Psychology, Self-Exploration, Community Service, Debate and Murder Mystery. Despite the long list of classes she has taught, her favorite class remains Drama because of the talented, enthusiastic scholars.

“My biggest accomplishment at DECATS,” she shared, “is helping to create a community of people that are supportive of each other.”

Not only has Mrs. Shotland taught here for 22 years, but she has made a real impact at DECATS with the students and teachers. Patrick M., a Psychology TA, commented, “Mrs. Shotland instills the quality of leadership and gives the students the ability to lead.”Mrs. Shotland hopes she will be able to continue her work at DECATS in the future and inspire more programs like Jr. and Sr. DECATS, so the experience can be shared with students everywhere.

“Whatever people want or create, we’re open to them,” she added.

Written by: Kendall H., Reporter

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