Graduates ready to enter education workforce

Published 10:00 am Friday, December 24, 2021

Longwood University celebrated the completion of elementary education coursework for five local students. Caitlyn Cockram, Meghan Marlowe, Morgan Norman, Taylor Conklin and Ryan Orton, who finished their studies at the New College Institute on Monday, Dec. 6, will be able to walk with their fellow 2022 graduates at Longwood’s Commencement Ceremony on May 21. Chris McDonald, coordinator of student engagement at NCI, stated, “I’m so proud of these students, their resilience in finishing after having to navigate through the pandemic shows they can handle anything they come up against. They are the leaders of tomorrow and I’m looking forward to seeing their continued success.”

Students shared their student teaching Capstone experiences with visitors and teachers at the New College Institute’s Baldwin Building at a Completion Celebration. Margaret Omwenga, chief program officer for NCI, and Dr. Lissa A. Power-deFur, interim fean of Longwood’s College of Education, Health & Human Services, led the celebration of the students’ accomplishments.

Caitlyn Cockram, recipient of the Joan of Arc Leadership Medallion, spoke to her 2022 cohort with a message of hope and thanksgiving. Dr. Audrey Church, chair of the department of education and counseling announced each student as they received a gift and certificate of completion.

Dr. Greg Hodges, president of Patrick & Henry Community College, offered his praise for the graduates, admiration for the profession they have chosen, and a celebration of the partnership between Longwood, P&HCC, and NCI. Dr. Pamela Randall closed the event adding more excitement with the news that all five of these students already have positions secured in schools in and around Martinsville.

Longwood also included the graduates from 2021 and 2020 whose celebrations were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021 graduates included: Kaisey Campbell, Betty Hairston, Emily Martin, Austin Turner, Olivia Jones, Amy Patterson, Tara Williams, Kelli Floyd, Jarrett Mays, Mariah Shaffer and Allison Pace. Graduates in the class of 2020 included: Brittany Boulden, Candace Holmes, Emily Cowher, Taylor Walker, Casey Favor and Lauren Wood.

The celebration of completion heralds a strong partnership between Longwood University and Patrick & Henry Community College. Of the 22 graduates from the past three years, 21 completed their associate degree at Patrick & Henry Community College and continued to complete their bachelor’s degree with Longwood.