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May 3, 2021

St. Francis College Prepares Next Generation of Teachers

Walking across the stage at this month's spring 2021 commencement will be about a dozen St. Francis College graduates poised to return to the classroom, this time as teachers.

For years, St. Francis College's Education Department has been training new generations of educators, offering undergraduate degrees in childhood and adolescent education and physical education that prepare students for graduate school, professional certification and fulfilling jobs in primary and secondary school settings. Since spring 2019, the College has graduated 47 education majors.

"Education is at the heart of all the progress individuals and society make. It is the means to develop tomorrow's leaders, to advance science and art, to create informed global citizens, to springboard individuals into fulfilling careers and to carry the Franciscan heart into every school community," said Marina Gair, Ph.D., Chair of the Education Department, sharing her perspective in honor of National Teacher Appreciation Day on May 4. "It is an absolute privilege to be an educator myself and an honor to help shape future educators."

SFC Education Department alumni are currently employed in schools throughout New York City – hundreds within the New York City Department of Education system alone – and across the state and country. After completing their St. Francis College degrees, many alumni earn master's degrees from other area institutions, including the Hunter College, Brooklyn College and other CUNY colleges; Columbia University; Long Island University; and St. John's University.

Education majors in the Class of 2021 share their motivations for becoming teachers

Education majors

Pictured top l-r: Francesca Adragna, Maeve Conlon, Deanna D'Elia; bottom l-r: Christina Giordano, Vincenza Naimo, JuliaAnn Weisel

My choice to become a teacher was a simple one, and in a way, it feels destined. I have learned that teaching children is more than just a career for me, it is a way to return the exceptional educational experience I had and to motivate students the way my former teachers motivated me. I have such a strong passion for becoming a teacher because I am a constant learner, and I hope to foster that same love of education in others. I intend to dedicate myself to support every student's individual needs and to be compassionate.

Francesca Adragna '21, B.A. in childhood education with a concentration in English

I want to be a teacher so that I can empower students. I want to help students understand the world around them and become empowered to make their own thoughts and opinions about what's happening in our society today.

Maeve Conlon '21, B.A. in adolescent education with a concentration in social studies

I want to become a teacher because teaching is something I always wanted to pursue. The idea of teaching was always exciting to me because of the positive experiences I had in the classroom. But most of all, I want to change students' lives by engaging them in fun and exciting lessons, inspiring them and guiding them to become better learners.

Deanna D'Elia '21, B.A. in childhood education with a concentration in English

A career is something that we will have for the rest of our lives, so it is important to choose the right one, the one that will make us the happiest. You know that great feeling you get when you help someone or when someone looks to you for help? Teaching is getting that feeling for the rest of your life. Having the opportunity to teach the future generations to do amazing things is the most fulfilling feeling. There are a million career paths to choose from, there are other paths that I also want to take, but I would just be out of my mind to not choose the one I am meant for, which is to be a teacher.

Christina Giordano '21, B.S. in adolescent education with a concentration in math

My dream to be a teacher stems from my desire to make a change, to inspire and to teach young minds of the endless possibilities they can be capable of. I believe that my emphasis as an educator will be on encouraging change and improvement in our society through my children. My goal is to be able to guide young generations through an educational and developmental path toward academic and, most importantly, individual success, no matter how diverse and unique that may be for each individual student and their wants/needs. As an educator, I want the opportunity to help children grow educationally, morally, intellectually and emotionally, as I teach with love and care. I want to be a teacher to encourage, inspire and be the change I want to see in the world.

Vincenza Naimo '21 B.A. in childhood education with a concentration in English

I want to be a teacher because I believe I can ignite the spark within my future students to want to be healthy and change their mindset about physical activity. If I can help my future students find at least one activity they enjoy and incorporate that into my curriculum, I truly believe I can make a change to better their health and have a positive impact on their lifestyle choices.

JuliaAnn Weisel '21, B.S. in physical education

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