Longwood Graduates

Longwood at New College Institute Celebrates Graduation of 2023 Partner Program Graduates and Completers

Martinsville, VA – Longwood University and New College Institute recently recognized those students who participated in the May 20, 2023 graduation ceremonies at Longwood University. The celebration took place at NCI’s Baldwin Building and recognized the hard work and dedication of students who are pursuing degrees in Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education and Liberal Studies with a minor in Early Childhood.

Audrey Church, Department Chair for the Department of Education and Counseling at Longwood, gave greetings at the graduation ceremony. Church praised the graduates’ dedication to the education profession and assured them of Longwood’s support throughout their teaching careers. She shared two quotes with the graduates, one by Eleanor Roosevelt and the other by Minor Meyers Jr. The first quote highlighted the graduates’ perseverance and hard work in completing their programs despite challenges. The second quote emphasized the importance of doing good in the communities they serve. Church expressed her confidence in the graduates’ ability to make a positive impact on children’s lives and communities. She encouraged the graduates to acknowledge and applaud the support they received from their families, professors, and classmates.

Jasmine Altamirano, a first-generation student, who will graduate from Longwood University with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and early childhood special education, as well as a Virginia teaching license, also spoke to the graduates. During her speech she encouraged her audience to take action by stating, “Change happens when we take action, and action requires us to get out of our comfort zones and take risks.” Altamirano credited her family for their unwavering support and stated that quitting was never an option. Through hard work and dedication, she learned a great deal in the program and gained experience in internships and student teaching.

Altamirano emphasized the importance of recognizing and confronting one’s fears, saying, “Our fears are just thoughts that we’ve given too much power to. We can overcome them by taking action in spite of them.” Finally, she concluded her speech with a powerful message, “If we want to see change in the world, we must be the change. It starts with us.”

2023 Longwood Graduates and Completers included the following:

Elementary Education, Licensure: Casey Elkins, Vivian Fria-Alvarez, Hailey Harbour, Sarah Krauss, Ashley Lawson, Cara Oakes, Karina Altamirano Rodriguez, Lindsay Tate, Faith Young

Early Childhood Education, Licensure: Jasmine Altamirano

Early Childhood Education, Non-Licensure: Angelique Hairston, Rachel Hodge, Melissa Kellam, Felisha Mellott, Amanda Pagans

Liberal Studies – Minor in Early Childhood Education, Non-Licensure: Jenna Adams, Sharika Adams

“The Early Childhood Education Program at NCI was the best decision I ever made! The atmosphere, the faculty and staff were amazing,” remarked ECE Graduate Melissa Kellam

“We are tremendously proud of the 17 students who have completed their educational journey through our partnership with NCI and Longwood. This event is a testament to the power of strong, collaborative partnerships and what they can achieve. Through these partnerships, citizens of South Virginia have the opportunity to start, continue, and complete their educational journey right here at home,” shared NCI Executive Director, Joe Sumner. “We are grateful for our partnerships with Longwood and Patrick and Henry, which make these opportunities possible, and we are proud of the pipeline of educators that we are working to establish. Speaking with the students recognized, I am excited to see the positive impact they will have on their local communities as they join the workforce as educators and child care experts. Their hard work and dedication to completing their educational journey ensures the success of the next generation of students. Congratulations to each and every student who was recognized. We are proud of you and honored to be a part of your journey.”

The Longwood at NCI partner program offers students the opportunity to complete their degree at NCI while receiving the same high-quality education as Longwood University students. The program has helped many students achieve their academic and professional goals.

For more information on Longwood at NCI and its partner programs, please visit http://www.longwood.edu/education/about/longwoodnci/.