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Graduation Exercise

Gordon College will confer the first baccalaureate degrees in its long, storied history May 16 when the 30 members of its first-ever senior class graduate. The seniors will each receive a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. In its military school days, Gordon graduated high school seniors but the college has never graduated any students with four-year degrees completed solely on the local campus. It has had nursing graduates with baccalaureate degrees completed in conjunction with other schools including the Medical College of Georgia. Making history means a lot to the 30 seniors, several of whom shared their thoughts with The Herald-Gazette in anticipation of their big day. Janette K. Geasley: “The experience of being the first baccalaureate class has been incredible! The professors have been wonderful supporters and cheerleaders. We have grown tremendously as students, teachers and, most importantly, as people. We have made everlasting bonds with old and new friends. I am glad to have gone through this experience with my cohorts. Thank you to all of those who have been there to celebrate my growth and accomplishments. The Lord has blessed me with amazing people including my wonderful husband William.” Tracy J. Brown: “It has been an exciting experience to be in the first baccalaureate class graduating from Gordon College. The whole college has been behind us encouraging us and helping us every step of the way. The education department has become more of a family than just a group of students. With the cohort system, we have learned to rely on one another for support and encouragement. I moved back to Barnesville just so I could attend this program and it has been well worth it. I feel as though my knowledge and experience through Gordon College will help me in my chosen profession in the years to come.” Megan Wallace: I feel very honored and privileged to be in the first baccalaureate class at Gordon.  It was such an amazing experience and I was able to share it with a great group of men and women. I have grown so much as an educator but also as a person while in the education program. The teacher education program could not have asked for a better group.” Alisa Helms: I am so proud to be in the first baccalaureate class of Gordon College! It is really an accomplishment to be a part of history for the college.  It has been a long journey but an eventful one. Our cohort embarked on this journey together and I am glad we have stayed together to share in this special experience. The professors have been wonderful and will always be very dear to me. I  could not have made it without them!” LaWanda M. Green: “As a graduate, I am fortunate to proclaim that Gordon will forever be a part of my life simply because it is a great college. I graduated from Gordon with an associate’s degree in 2005 and reentered in 2007 after learning that my daughter needed a major brain operation. She inspired me to continue on with my education because she saw the desire to teach within my heart. She suggested that I pursue my goal as she continued her battle with sickle cell anemia. Gordon provided the classes I needed at convenient times and allowed me the opportunity to experience learning in a genuine way. The professors were always available and supportive to the cohort. I am proud of the cohort and the faculty for working to make the Gordon ECE program a first choice for many and an only choice for the chosen. Autumn Schaffer: “First of all, I feel honored to have been chosen as one of the few to participate in such a groundbreaking program in Gordon’s history. Being a native of Barnesville, I also feel privileged to have the opportunity to stay in my hometown, which of course is where my heart is. Also, I am so gracious to have been able to bond with my cohort members who truly have become my second family. The education staff, including Dr. Stinchcomb, Dr. Borders, Dr. Bell and Ms. Stigura, is also included in the ‘education family.’ It’s hard to believe that just two years ago we were all beginning this journey. None of us were quite sure where the adventure would take us. Now, we are all prepared to go out and better the world as we know it. That is something the professors at Gordon should be proud of. I have them to thank for my unwavering confidence, hospitality and dignity – which is what I think defines a Gordon College teacher.” Michelle R. Fass: “I am so excited and blessed to be in the first baccalaureate class of Gordon. It seems like yesterday I was reading my letter of acceptance. In the past two years, I have met some of my best friends. We have been through a lot and made many memories that will never be forgotten. I want to thank my friends from the cohort for all the laughs, tears, motivation and encouragement. We could not have made it without one another. I also want to thank my family for all their love, prayers and support.  I am lucky to be a part of the first baccalaureate class at Gordon. It has been hard driving down to Barnesville everyday from Henry County, but I would not take anything for my memories.  When I look back on my college experience, I will always remember the memories, good and bad, that the first baccalaureate class of Gordon College shared together.” Marlena Worthan Bell: “I feel honored to be a member of the first baccalaureate class at Gordon College. I have known from the beginning that this was a special opportunity but have just begun to understand the magnitude of it all. I have met people along the way with whom I will always have a connection. I will value my very talented colleagues more than they will know. I hope more than anything that these colleagues, both students and professors, understand the impact that they have had on my life. This program that Gordon College has created should be held in the highest esteem. I am a member of a prestigious group of people – a prestigious group of teachers. We have been trained by the best. Because of this program, I know that I will be prepared for my job as a teacher from the very first day in my own classroom. I thank all of those who have allowed me to be a part of this very special group of people.” Rachael Barr: “It is an honor to be part of such a momentous event. The success of this Gordon program is due primarily to the hard work and dedication of the pioneering professors and support staff. They are the true history makers here.” Deana Kimbrell: “Being in this program as one of the ‘first’ has been one of the most special and humbling experiences in my academic journey. As a mother of two children and a wife of nearly 10 years at the time of acceptance,  I was completely shocked to find out I was accepted. Now that I have participated in this program under the leadership of Dr. Stinchcomb and some of the best veteran teachers supporting our program, I feel extremely humbled to know that I am being seriously considered to become a member of a society of individuals who have set out to change the world one child at a time.” Sabrina Pittman: “It’s like we’ve become one big happy family of teachers. One of the best things about having to go to class on an evening that you had a horrible day teaching was to go to class, and suddenly remember that you’re not in it alone.” Stephanie Hill: “I feel honored to have been selected to be in the first baccalaureate class of Gordon College. It is very exciting to know we are making history.”

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