ECU College of Education celebrates spring 2019 graduates

College of Education Spring 2019 Undergraduates

College of Education undergraduates pose for a photo before the ceremony.

Collaboration and community resonated throughout Minges Coliseum as College of Education graduates celebrated their accomplishments. The college honored the memory of a student who passed away this spring and utilized the co-teaching model to create a joint faculty-student speech.

As Dr. B. Grant Hayes, Dean of the College of Education, welcomed graduates, faculty, family and friends to the Spring 2019 commencement, he paused for a moment of silence to remember Allison Blair Forsythe, a counselor education student who died in a plane accident during spring break.

During the recognition of graduates receiving master’s degrees, Charles and Lori Forsythe, Allison’s parents, walked across the stage and accepted their daughter’s diploma from Dr. Scott Glass, chair of the Department of Interdisciplinary Professions. A short silence filled Williams Arena before everyone, graduates and attendees, stood and applauded Allison’s memory.

Dr. Christina Tschida and Kelsey Phillips deliver a co-speech.

Dr. Christina Tschida, left, and Kelsey Phillips deliver a co-speech at the spring 2019 graduation.

In his introduction of the student speaker, Kelsey Phillips, Hayes referenced several of Phillips’ accomplishments including being the Region 1 Elementary Science Teacher of the Year with the North Carolina Science Teacher Association in 2015, the Sam D. Bundy Teacher of the Year in 2018 and a Pitt County Teacher of the Year finalist. Currently, Phillips is a 5th grade math and science teacher at Sam D. Bundy Elementary School in Farmville, N.C.

“We are always better and stronger when we have the support of others,” Phillips said in her introduction before inviting the faculty speaker, Dr. Christina Tschida, to join her at the podium to give a joint speech. The two reminisced over the first class that Phillips attended and how far she has come since then.

Tschida, who leads the co-teaching initiative and teaches in the Elementary and Middle Grades Department, told the graduates that education is about relationships with students as well as making society a better place. Phillips agreed, adding that ECU faculty provided a model for her on how to invest in her students.

College of Education spring 2019 graduate students

Graduate students from ECU’s College of Education pose for a photograph before the ceremony begins.

They both said that passion is instrumental for educators and Phillips said her passion for science is what helps her get kids excited about learning. One of the most important things to remember, according to Phillips and Tschida, is that teachers have a responsibility not only to their students, but also to their communities.

However, Tschida reminded graduates that having a strong support system would be integral to their future careers. “You are stepping forward into a new chapter of your life today. As you do so, remember you are not alone. You have the faculty of ECU supporting and cheering you on. And you have each other,” she said.

This semester, COE awarded approximately 280 undergraduate degrees, 230 graduate degrees and 36 doctoral degrees.

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