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Lander Education Graduates Praised for ‘Grace and Grit’


Graduating senior Marisa Garcia, of Lexington, is recognized by Lander University Assistant Professor of Education Dr. Lauren Adams during the College of Education’s pinning ceremony, held on Tuesday, Dec. 13. At left is Assistant Professor of Education Dr. Tamara Pack. At right is Dr. Sarah Hunt-Barron, dean of the College of Education. Photo by Laura Wood

Lander University’s College of Education held its pinning ceremony for fall semester graduates on Tuesday, Dec. 13, with 23 undergraduates and two graduate students receiving pins.

“The students we recognize today have faced challenges that none of us could have imagined three years ago,” said Dr. Sarah Hunt-Barron, dean of the College of Education. She said the students showed “grace and grit” while “navigating new ways of teaching and learning” forced upon them by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 “These graduates taught themselves how to use new technological tools virtually overnight. They tried new approaches for teaching students, and they were part of the reinvention of what it means to be part of a learning community. They have been well-prepared for their professional lives,” she said.

Early childhood education majors receiving pins included Trisha Boatwright, of Lexington; Sally Katelyn Martin, of Abbeville; Scottie Brewington, of Laurens; Jacquelyn Coxe, of Abbeville; Marisa Garcia, of Lexington; Ashton Johnson, of Abbeville; Pamela Rouse, of Greenville; and Nicole Whitt, of Hickory Tavern.

Catie McKee, of Mauldin, an early childhood education major with a Montessori emphasis, was also recognized.

Elementary education majors recognized were Anna Grace Brewster, of Greenwood; Alexus Cornelius, of Heath Springs; Georgina Galvan, of Leesville; Caroline Hinzman, of Greenwood; and Hannah Matthews, of Ninety Six.

Stephen Underhill, of Greenwood, was honored for graduating with PK-certification in music.

Other honorees included three physical education majors with PK-12 certification: Benjamin Duvall, of Westminster; Kendall James, of Greenwood; and Tanner Turner, of Salley.

Exercise science majors receiving pins were Kristyanna Blacks, of North Augusta; Seth Cook, of Belton; Wesley Howard, of Pelzer; Aaron Kirkland, of Milledgeville, Ga.; and Madilyn Reed, of Graniteville.

Brittni Johnson, of Athens, Ga., and Drayton Rowe, of Saluda, who both graduated with a Master of Arts in Visual Arts, received special recognition.

“These students joined us in the summer of 2021, and have shown themselves to not only be committed and qualified educators, but also have established themselves as artists. Their gallery show a few weeks ago was stunning. The work they shared, including the work they were able to do with their students as art educators, was remarkable,” Hunt-Barron said.

Following the ceremony, held in the Abney Cultural Center, there was a reception in Johnston Commons.