Longwood @ NCI honors nine students in completion ceremony

by Monique Holland – May 3, 2024 – Martinsville Bulletin

A ceremony celebrating Longwood @ NCI students honored nine graduating students.

Longwood @ NCI is a partnership between Longwood University, New College Institute and Patrick & Henry Community College that allows residents of Martinsville and surrounding areas the ability to study close to home.

Family members, friends and support for program completers filled up the NCI Martin Lacy Lecture Hall on Tuesday evening for the ceremony.

“It says a lot that so many of your friends and family wanted to be here with you tonight to celebrate in your success with you,” Longwood University College of Education, Health and Human Services Dean Dr. Angela McDonald said. “We are excited that you did to be able to get to this point, but most of all we’re really excited about where you’re headed.”

The student speaker of the evening was Naarah Leghorn, who completed the elementary education program.

“To all my fellow seniors here today, I feel so honored to be graduating with such amazing ladies,” Leghorn said. “This is it, we did it.”

Leghorn took time to recognize the professors that taught her while she was in the program.

“We have some of the best professors here,” Leghorn said. “You were all instrumental in shaping us into potentially the best teachers we can be. I’m sure I’m speaking on behalf of every classmate when I say we can recognize that you all have provided superior quality instruction.”

“You practice what you’re taught, and we will take you with us and pieces of each one of you will be manifested through our teaching,” she added.

Leghorn also touched on the reasoning behind her wanting to become a teacher, saying that she often gets asked why she would want to become a teacher.

“Because we are passionate about learning, growing and making a positive impact on every child that we meet,” she said. “Because we want to show up for our students. They are the reason we are there. To inspire them to learn, imagine a better world and create a better world by being fearless.”

“In a scary, dark world we want to shine and give light,” she added. “We, as teachers, will stand up for what is right and be the best teachers we can possibly be regardless of the challenges we have to face.”

Elementary education program completers were Karina Altamirano Rodriguez, Hailey Harbour, Naarah Leghorn, Litzy Santiago Lopez and Madison Todaro.

Early childhood education program completers were Melissa Kellam-Wimbush, Devan Campbell and Allyson Lawson.

Saira Wilson completed a program in liberal studies with a minor in early childhood education.

“Thank you to each and every one of you for coming out tonight supporting your students, your graduates, your soon-to-be educators,” NCI Executive Director Joe Sumner said. “I cannot tell you how important of a night this is for us.”

“Students, you’re getting ready to embark on the next leg of your journey,” he added. “It’s not going to always be easy; it’s not always going to be fun but know that no matter what you encounter — you have everything it takes to be successful.”

This article can be found at www.martinsvillebulletin.com

Photo Credit: Monique Holland, Martinsville Bulletin