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Future educators honored at recognition ceremony

May 5, 2022
A group of people stand in front of a red background
A group of people stand in front of a red background

KOKOMO, Ind. —The Indiana University Kokomo School of Education welcomed 38 new teachers to the profession and applauded eight incoming students who plan to become teachers, at the annual recognition ceremony Wednesday (May 4).

Dean Leah Nellis said it was fitting that the ceremony, in Kresge Auditorium, was held during Teacher Appreciation Week.

“Thank you for choosing this profession, and giving of yourself, your time, your talent, and your heart,” she said. “You started this program during a pandemic, a very challenging time for everyone, but especially schools, educators, and students. You all persisted, and you have developed into wonderful, soon-to-be new educators. You are now our colleagues, and we are honored to recognize you as such.”

Education alumna Liz Douglass, a teacher in the Western School Corporation, welcomed them on behalf of all the teachers who came before them.

“I sincerely believe this is the greatest profession,” she said. “As teachers, we put our heart and soul into everything we do, and I know you do, too. I’m sure this is the place for you. Thank you for dedicating your lives to this profession, and for joining me in it.”

Outstanding student award winners Jena Myers and Mariah Misson also congratulated their classmates.

Myers said she faced many challenges during her time as a student, including having to leave for a time for military training, and there were times she considered giving up.

“Through all of the chaos, I grew as a person, as a mother, and as a future educator,” she said. “Now I can say I’m the very woman my younger self aspired to be. We finally made it, and we’re so much stronger because of it.”

Misson said being flexible has been key to becoming a teacher as the world inside and outside of education changed drastically during their time at IU Kokomo.

“One thing that has brought us all together is our passion for education, unlocking doors for our students that lead to independent thinking, justice, and freedom.”

Nellis also recognized high school students who completed the Tomorrow’s Teachers program and have enrolled at IU Kokomo. The program allows students interested in becoming teachers to take School of Education courses at their own schools, to get a head start on college.

Honorees are listed by degree and hometown. They include:

Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education

Bringhurst: Heather Kauffman

Delphi: Jaycee Allen

Kokomo: Katherine Asher, Jessica Hamilton, Conner Leicht, Jena Myers

Lafayette: Ashlyn Drake

Noblesville: Caitlin Kinkead

Peru: Danielle Chapman

Russiaville: Janae Quinn

Warsaw: Ciara Stout

Elementary education and early childhood

Cicero: Peyton Zebrauskas

Converse: Madyson Dedman

Kokomo: Alex Davis, Kearah Little

Logansport: Mikayla Rogers

Russiaville: Victoria Wunderlich

Tipton: Emily Derheimer

Elementary education and special education

Elwood: Jakob Wilson

Kokomo: Erika Brogdon

Logansport: Haley Johnson

Noblesville: Victoria Dittmar, Madeline Ivanov

Russiaville: Katy Workman

Sheridan: Alexis Hartman

Wabash: Josie Phillipy

Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education

Frankfort: Tanner Scott, social studies

Gas City: Joshua Dakin, history

Greentown: Holden Booher, English/language arts

Kokomo: Sawyer Reynolds, social studies

Marion: Mariah Misson, English/language arts

Peru: Haley Holycross, fine arts and visual arts, Betsy Powell, mathematics

Wabash: Chloe Kendall, English/language arts; Makenna Norman, social studies

Transition to Teaching

Kokomo: Scott Johnson

Logansport: Robert Justice

Russiaville: Nicole Miller

Tomorrow’s Teachers

Alexandria High School: Kaylee Smith

Kokomo High School: Bri Aviles, Leah Conner, Abby Mitchel, Kenzie Taylor

Logansport High School: Ella Hobson

Western High School: Maleah Winger, Madisyn White

Indiana Association of Colleges for Teacher Education Outstanding Future Educator award: Danielle Chapman, Haley Holycross, Peru; Caitlin Kinkead, Noblesville

Education is KEY at Indiana University Kokomo.

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