Graduates Instructed to Focus on Relationships and Service

Nearly 400 students graduated from the McKay School
Allison Barney addresses the crowd.
Photo credit: McKay Creative

Nearly 400 students graduated from the McKay School on April 27, 2018. Of the 384 students, 11 received doctoral degrees, two received educational specialist degrees, 41 received master’s degrees, and the remaining received baccalaureate degrees. 
 
Speakers addressed the audience before diplomas were awarded. Two of the speakers were students selected to represent their class; the final speaker was from the faculty. Allison Barney, a communication disorders graduate, spoke first.
 
“We know that we will never become perfect educators in this life, but how blessed are we to have studied at an institution that incorporates the doctrine and teachings of Christ into its academic curricula, an institution which teaches its students to follow the example of Jesus Christ,” Barney said. 
 
Barney’s speech focused on skills that graduates learned during their time at BYU, including traits of diligence, compassion, and Christlike attributes. She then went on to explain how those traits could impact their futures. 
 
“All of the knowledge and skills that we have acquired will not only benefit our lives, but also the lives of countless others,” Barney explained. “As several of my professors have said, ‘We, in this field, are in the business of helping people.’ The diplomas we are about to receive prove that we have studied the books, completed the projects, passed the tests, and are now qualified to enter that wonderful ‘business.’” 
 
Elementary education major Jaelynn Horton next addressed the graduates. Horton’s speech emphasized the life-long process of learning.

Jaylynn Horton and graduates.
Photo credit: McKay Creative

“Walking from one side of the stage to the other is a symbolic manifestation of the journey that we’ve completed. While crossing a stage or climbing across a ladder are certainly feel-good cultural traditions, they do not realistically portray the learning process,” Horton said. “We don’t simply walk across stages and witness super obvious changes, but we simply and steadily keep progressing.” 
 
Horton likened the analogy of plant growth to the learning process. She explained that it was gradual and difficult to see progress in the moment. However, as one takes a look from the beginning, it’s possible to see just how much growth has occurred.  
 
“Looking at learning and growing as a spectrum rather than an immediate transition helps us enjoy life as the journey that it is, rather than set up unrealistic expectations that lead to disappointment and feelings of failure,” Horton said. 
 
After Horton’s remarks, the graduates and the audience were honored to hear from faculty member Robert V. Bullough Jr. Bullough is a professor of teacher education, as well as the associate director of the Center for the Improvement of Teacher Education and Schooling in the McKay School. 
 
Bullough focused on what he called “a hidden curriculum of relationships.” He remarked, “The idea is this: that education is first, foremost, and always about human relations and the quality of those relationships . . . how educators and those they teach live together and learn to care for and about one another, and of how together they grow as human beings.”

Robert Bullough gives his speech.
Photo credit: McKay Creative

Bullough continued to emphasize the importance of the role a teacher plays in the lives of students. He called upon the graduates to think back on their own time working with teachers and the relationships they had with them. 
 
“As we think about our own student lives, we may not recall much about what we studied, but we always remember how we felt in school and easily recall those educators who created a space within which we felt valued and cared for—or, sometimes and sadly, small and inconsequential. We remember their names; they are part of our book of life,” Bullough said. 
 
After the ceremony, graduates and their guests attended a reception outside of the Smith Fieldhouse.

 

 

Writer: Laurie Bradshaw 

Contact: Cindy Glad (801) 422-1922