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
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.