Georgian Court University Convocation on August 26, 2022 Congratulations to Megan Walsh!
Lambda Chapter was cordially invited to attend Convocation at Georgian Court University on Thursday August 25th. The sisters in attendance were treated like royalty once again. Upon our arrival at the mansion Mr. Frank Mascia, assistant Vice President for Development, who saw to every detail from lunch, to photos and a tour of campus. We were joined by outgoing Dean Magaya and incoming Dean McNeal and of course, our recipient Megan Walsh! It was wonderful to get to know her in person and see her enthusiasm for the her upcoming school year. We also caught up with Hannah Moran, out first recipient, who is also gainfully employed this year. The Early Educator Award committee would like to extended our overflowing appreciation to all of you for your support, enthusiasm and ongoing commitment to the Early Educator Award at Georgian Court University. Hannah and Megan have been invited to join us Monday December 5th for our chapter meeting. We hope to see you there, so you too can be as impressed and delighted by these charming, intelligent young women educators!
The Early Educator Award by Kimberly Falcone
What grows from a seed is a miracle to watch. From the first motion to put the EEA in place in December 2019 to what it has already grown into, is an astounding result! During the process of flushing out the mechanics of the EEA I was able to meet three amazing young women, who will be phenomenal teachers. Selecting the woman, we knew would benefit from the scholarship was a thrill! Our day at GCU was a warm summer day with so much joy that filled me up for the start of my new school year. As convocation wrapped up incoming freshman stood to vow to uphold the values of GCU just as Hannah had probably done years before, full circle moment if I have ever seen one. Please know we have done good for a truly worthy early educator.
The GCU Convocation by Noreen McHale
After our intimate tour and lunch at the Mansion, our caravan made it over to the Wellness Center where we were escorted to the VIP parking reserved for our cars. A ceremony of awards, excitement for the new academic school year, and a true sense of togetherness was woven throughout the Convocation Ceremony. Parents, friends, and peers cascaded the bleachers with cheers and exclamations for every award recipient. After such a time of solitude, it gave me goosebumps to be surrounded by camaraderie. The ceremony opened with the procession of student government leaders, award recipients, new students, and faculty. This was followed by a beautiful, thought-provoking invocation given by the campus minister. We were reminded about the importance of self-care, mindfulness, and curiosity through Dr. Komagata’s Convocation Address, who opened her words with a breathing exercise. Then the award ceremony began. Dean Magaya, School of Education, saved the EEA award for last. He reflected on the award and its impact, "not only is this a financial award intended to assist a rising teacher with the expenses incurred” but a recognition of the dedication needed in education. He then paused to recognize Lambda, as the ladies in attendance waved, the entire center erupted with applause with gratitude. After all the awards were presented, the ceremony shifted to a special moment. (One that I have never experienced). The pinning of the class of 2025! The freshmen that were present received their GCU pin. Then the class of 2025 took the GCU Student Pledge of respect, integrity, justice, compassion, and service. The ceremony concluded with motivation and a special blessing for the start of the academic school year. Finally, we had the opportunity to meet Mr. and Mrs. Moran. (Hannah looks like mom) Words cannot express how proud they are of their daughter. They expressed their gratitude for the opportunity of the EEA award. Of course, we then had a photo opt on stage. Hannah expressed that one professor commented that she didn't have what it takes to be an educator. Despite this blow, Hannah persevered! Our EEA perhaps gave her the extra boost, encouragement, and acknowledgement that she can and will do great things in this field. On a personal note, I really needed this experience and to meet Hannah too. As this was the week before our school year began, her enthusiasm, excitement, and fresh ideas helped to ease my own worries and she sparked my drive.
Lambda Chapter Early Educator Award by Dr. Marilyn Gonyo
The members of Lambda Chapter took seriously some of the words from our DKG song, “Women teachers to the calling…”, combined them with the Purposes of our Society, and added newly acquired information of the cost and process aspiring educators encounter in obtaining their initial permanent instructional certificate. All of this combined to the Lambda Ladies taking action and creating the Early Educator Award (EEA). Initially, information was gathered and shared: that to earn New Jersey teaching credentials undergraduate course work must be successfully completed, along with standardized tests of basic skills and subject content areas, as well as an accredited certification program. An early-on decision was made to partner with a four-year New Jersey College offering a teacher preparation program, meaning that our aspiring educators would be issued a Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing (CEAS). Holders of this certificate go through the Provisional Teacher Program, which involves a period of mentoring, supervision, and assessment, before being issued a permanent Standard Certificate. New Jersey is one of 27 states which participates in a teacher induction program which is a formal, comprehensive platform that matches new teachers with seasoned educators for the primary purposes of mentoring and providing support through the initial years. This high level of support and assistance is costly. Lambda Chapter learned that the projected costs to complete a State Approved Teacher Certificate Program was approximately $1500 and upward. Included in these costs are examinations, required certificates, background checks, and varied fees to the NJDOE. It is not uncommon for college students to complete so many of the requirements, but not obtain their certification simply because of the high cost. Lambda felt that there was a mission to complete, even if it meant helping but one such aspiring student. Thus, the work began to create the EEA to assist a rising female educator with the expenses incurred in obtaining a New Jersey state-approved certificate. An Ad Hoc Committee was formed to begin the work of determining the college with whom they would partner along with the outreach to said institution. Timelines were established along with the process and procedure. It was decided that the college would do the outreach to the students and form an internal committee to complete the first level of applicant screening. The focus was not only on successful college work completed but emphasis also was placed on the financial need of the student. Final criteria were developed and three finalists were sent to the EEA Committee for interview. Since the College had done the first level of vetting, the Committee was challenged in selecting one recipient from three outstanding seniors with excellent credentials and strong desires to be the best educator possible. While the process and procedures were in place and moving forward, also in place was the creation of a Patron Program within the Chapter. At each meeting and via e-communications, the EEA was publicized and members were encouraged to support financially this very important chapter project. The Chapter also approved an allocation from the general fund to a specific EEA line item in the budget. Thus, donations were continually being received and acknowledged. Lambda Chapter presented the initial EEA to a senior at Georgian Court University. The EEA Committee and representatives from Lambda were invited as special guests to the University Convocation. In a private ceremony in the Mansion at GCU along with the Dean of the School of Education and the Vice President for Advancement, the EEA was presented to Hanna Moran. At Convocation the Award was officially recognized by the Dean. As one of our committee members said, “What grows from a seed is a miracle to watch.” Indeed, the seed was planted and with the cooperation and support of all the members, the idea germinated took form and bloomed to fruition. Members of the Committee who still are actively engaged in their educational careers found this experience to be what they, too, needed to spark their enthusiasm and excitement as they prepared for a new school year. It has been said that “Teachers are arguably the most important members of our society. They give children purpose, set them up for success as citizens of our world, and inspire in them a drive to do well and succeed in life. The children of today are the leaders of tomorrow, and teachers are that critical point that makes a child ready for their future.” Lambda Chapter is proud and pleased to have initiated this program to support early educators. As members of our esteemed Society, we embrace the words of Nelson Mandela, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Lambda is proud to have contributed to that change by supporting an outstanding aspiring teacher.