The UCA College of Education held its eighth annual Teacher Pinning Ceremony on Friday, May 2, 2014, to honor candidates who are becoming teachers. Graduates from December 2013 and May 2014 were honored along with Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT) candidates. Two hundred sixty-one candidates graduated with teaching degrees in these two semesters.
The Teacher Pinning Ceremony is a time-honored tradition marking the occasion when one is welcomed into the teaching profession. It is a symbolic ceremony denoting a milestone in an educator’s life. Candidates are presented a College of Education pin that not only signifies their association with the University, but also represents their affiliation with the honorable profession of teaching. A slideshow of the candidates teaching during their internship makes the ceremony personal, and many past honorees have said that this event is as deeply meaningful to them as commencement.
Keynote speaker Ms. Trinina Pouncy, a teacher at Ruth Doyle Middle School and Conway School District’s 2013-2014 Teacher of the Year, gave a moving speech that brought the audience of graduates, family, friends, and faculty to its feet. Her philosophy of teaching is, “Failure is not an option.” Ms. Pouncy emphasized to the teacher candidates what an impact their words and actions will have on students and to never forget the impact they will be having on young people during their teaching careers. Ms. Pouncy received her bachelor’s degree in Middle Level Education from the University of Central Arkansas.
A reception was held afterward in the Brewer-Hegeman Conference Center on the UCA campus. Students and their families met and visited with UCA teacher education faculty and staff. Carlaskio Smith, May 2014 Early Childhood Education graduate and one of the teacher candidates honored, commented, “Wow! What a great end to an outstanding semester. After Ms. Pouncy’s speech, I left Reynolds Performance Hall ready to be the great teacher that the UCA College of Education has prepared me to be. The entire pinning ceremony was very moving.”
Dr. Diana Pounder, Dean of the College of Education, expressed her pride in the undergraduate and graduate students completing their initial teacher degree/licensure program. “We have lots of evidence that UCA teacher education graduates are among the best in the state and we repeatedly get feedback from school districts that our graduates are highly sought after.”