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Future teachers honored at recognition ceremony

May 4, 2023
A group of people pose for a picture
A group of people pose for a picture

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:

Carter Adkins, Lauren McLeland, Megan Wall

Education is KEY at Indiana University Kokomo.

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