KOKOMO, Ind — The Indiana University Kokomo School of Education welcomed 55 new teachers to the profession at its annual recognition ceremony Wednesday (May 3) in Havens Auditorium.
Chancellor Mark Canada congratulated the graduates, noting the importance of the work they will do.
“Educators prepare everyone to do everything,” he said. “You are on the front lines of making the next generation of everyone.”
Acting Dean Michael Tulley said he’s inspired to see them join the profession of teaching at a time when public schools face great challenges – especially when they’ve probably been encouraged to take a different path.
“Where others see an overgrown jungle, they see fertile ground for cultivating the next generation,” he said. “America’s schools have always been imperfect, but there is a lot of good about our schools as well. In my experience, that good is found in the people who occupy those spaces, America’s teachers, who are there every day doing their best against overwhelming odds. Those are the people who are the real backbone and soul of our schools.
“You can change the world one mind at a time,” he concluded. “That is the task and the reward that awaits you.”
Education alumnus Vincente Lorenz, who teaches at Kokomo High School, encouraged the graduates to celebrate their accomplishments, and thank the teachers who inspired them along the way.
He said teaching can be a lot of pressure, but it’s worth it knowing the outcome.
“We educators guide people’s lives,” he said. “Now that may seem scary, that may seem like a lot of pressure, and it is, but it’s also really cool. It all starts in a classroom with someone who guides and cares with careful decision making. The world needs more great teachers, teachers like you, that guide and care, and teachers who truly listen to their students and meet them where they are.
“I challenge you future educators to stay young, make personal connections, create experiences, and guide your students to always fly high,” Lorenz said.
Logan Brittain said his piano and voice teachers at the Rhum Academy of Music in Kokomo inspired him to become a K-12 music teacher.
“It’s an accomplishment I’m really proud of, and I know I will be even prouder when I walk across the stage,” he said. “In the future, I can look backward and say, ‘I did that.’”
Jessika Krom is excited to graduate and find her first job.
“I’m passionate about kids, and I love to watch them learn new things,” she said. “Seeing that lightbulb go on in their heads is amazing to watch.”
Honorees are listed by degree and hometown. They include:
Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education:
Greentown: Kaitlyn Alexander
Kempton: Paul Reehling
Kokomo: Courtney Brackett, Logan Brittain, Brooke May, Dajah Walker, Emma Watson
Logansport: Anthony Carden, Makenzie Fowler, Has Lei, Mitchelle Rodriguez
Middletown: Richard Cole
Peru: Amy Lunceford
Russiaville: Emilee Cregar
Westfield: Eden Combs
Elementary education and early childhood
Fort Wayne: Hannah Gaerte
Frankfort: Jalynn Kidwell, Chassidy Russell
Gas City: Hallie Carper
Greentown: Olivia Vogl
Kewanna: Alicen Harsh
Kokomo: Casey Lechner
Lafayette: Karsyn Bruce
LaFontaine: Courtney Andrick
North Manchester: Ashlynn Kline
Peru: Anbrea Adams
Reynolds: Ryanna Criswell
Roann: Jessika Krom
Templeton: Kelsey Coffman
Walton: Lauren McLeland
Wabash: Cassidy Carter
Windfall: Emily Byers
Elementary education and special education
Kokomo: Marlie Chaffee
Logansport: Abigail Coryea
Frankfort: Serena Morgan
Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education
Bringhurst: Morgan Clark, social studies
Burnettsville: Obadiah Jones, fine arts and visual arts
Denver: Melissa Troyer, English/language arts
Frankfort: Megan Wall, English/language arts
Greentown: Sydney Querry, English/language arts
Kokomo: Carter Adkins, mathematics; Casey Lawson, social studies; Saundra McKinney-Rosemont, fine arts and visual arts; Seth Thomas, social studies
Logansport: Maggie Hopper, earth science
Marion: Haley Reschke, English/language arts
New Richmond: Riley Brown, social studies
Peru: Braxton Wilhelm, fine arts and visual arts
Secondary Education Graduate Certification
Logansport: Ashley Hayes
Transition to Teaching
Greentown: Caitlin Foland
Kokomo: Alex Cox, Nicholas Weed
Peru: Danielle Blackburn
Westfield: Melissa Huhn, Jaclyn Vester Conrad
Indiana Association of Colleges for Teacher Education Outstanding Future Educator award: