Not even the chilly weather could stifle the moods of the 404 students that graduated from the David O. McKay School of Education today. While the majority walked for their bachelor’s degrees, three graduates earned education specialist degrees, 39 earned master’s degrees, and 17 received doctorates.
Before degrees were given out, three speakers addressed the audience. Natalie Scherck, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, spoke first. She centered her remarks on the McKay School mission statement by describing ways that educators can follow the example of Jesus Christ as the Master Teacher.
Techniques such as teaching to the understanding of the learner, serving diligently, and guiding with love made a difference for Scherck during her time at BYU. “Teaching is an eternal pursuit, and as we develop the attributes of Jesus Christ, we are better prepared to serve those around us in whatever capacity,” she said.
Scherck was followed by graduate Shelly Karren, who earned a master of education. Karren emphasized three more things that great educators should strive to do: “In order to reach the hearts of our learners and motivate them to improve . . . we must learn to listen, to love, and to lead.”
According to Karren, these traits lay the groundwork for creating positive relationships with students and parents alike. When teachers listen, love, and lead, students feel valued as individuals and motivated to do their best.
“You will inspire those within your sphere of influence. You will stretch their imaginations. You will guide and challenge them as learners and as future leaders,” Karren said.
The audience was then honored to hear from guest speaker Paul Sweat, superintendent of Wasatch County School District. Sweat began by sharing the inspiring story of Benjamin Cluff Jr., who went from being a custodial worker at Brigham Young Academy to becoming the first president of BYU. Considering Cluff’s accomplishments, Sweat said, “The most exciting part about that notion is the tremendous journey each of you have before you—a path that is replete with opportunities to change the lives of hundreds and even thousands of students for good.”
Sweat encouraged graduates to “go forth with confidence” as he discussed a talk given by Jeffrey R. Holland. “The leaders of the Church, the prophet, even our Savior and our Heavenly Father . . . want you as new teachers to trust in your abilities, your judgments and your instincts,” Sweat said.
While acknowledging the fact that educators face many challenges, Sweat assured students that they have what it takes to be successful in their field. “We welcome your youthful exuberance, your penchant to try new things, and your willingness to work together on a team,” he said. “We also welcome the fact that who you are as a person will become part of the school culture you are about to join.”
Graduates and guests attended an open house in the McKay Building immediately following the ceremony.
Writer: Leah Barton
Photo credit: Skyler Sorensen
Contact: Cynthia Glad (801) 422-1922