Congratulations to all Faculty of Education students who are graduating and attending convocation ceremonies this week. Below are a couple of stories that celebrate individual graduates and elaborate on their experience in our faculty.
Sharing stories of inclusion
Erin Power is being recognized with the title of Fellow of the School of Graduate Studies as she graduates with a master of education in curriculum, teaching and learning this week. This award is given in recognition of high academic standing in the last year of the students' graduate program at Memorial.
Growing up in St. John’s, Ms. Power feels that her research interests were shaped by the unique culture of Newfoundland and Labrador. “I think the tradition of storytelling is very strong within our culture,” she said. “My family instilled in me the importance of listening to everyone's story with an open mind and an open heart and that is certainly a core belief that has shaped my own life.”
Ms. Power’s research focused on inclusive education in Newfoundland and Labrador, restorative justice and the development of relational communities. Ms. Power was also a research assistant for a project headed by Dr. Dorothy Vaandering, entitled "Relationships First: Building restorative justice from the ground up".
“The heart of my research centered on collecting and sharing stories of those working within the school system around their own lived experiences with inclusion,” said Ms. Power. “It was such an honor and privilege to work with these educators and to have them offer to share their stories with me.”
Ms. Power currently teaches kindergarten in St. John’s and plays in a swing band for kids called The Swinging Belles with her partner Duane Andrews and her friend and fellow graduate, Laura Winter.
Taking a leading role
Jennifer Hanley will receive her bachelor of music conjoint with bachelor of music education degree this week, a dream more than 10 years in the making.
The Torbay native credits her music teachers for showing her how rewarding making music could be. Ms. Hanley began working towards her degrees in the late 1990s. She took a leave from her program and later had a child. She kept thinking about music and faced a decision: return to school as a single parent or keep working. After a 12-year hiatus, she decided that her family’s best future would be realized if she returned to Memorial.
There were challenges. Ms. Hanley had to carefully budget her time, but she was determined and had a great support system. “There were times when I simply could not meet a deadline,” she said. “But along with family and friends, I found in my professors another support system that I wasn’t anticipating.”
Ms. Hanley’s hard work has paid off and her son will watch her cross the stage on Friday, May 29. After graduation, she hopes to find a teaching position where she can run a music program for intermediate and secondary students. She believes that band programs help students build both music and life skills.
“Band taught me much more than just music, it taught me the importance of standing up and taking a leading role,” said Ms. Hanley. “These lessons were taught in the context of music but they cross over into all areas of life.”