Published on May 10, 2017  
John and Frances Carter Award Winners with Mrs. Carter

Samford University’s Orlean Beeson School of Education held its 36th annual award ceremony May 4 to recognize the many accomplishments of the school’s undergraduate teacher education students. Twelve scholarships totaling more than $35,000 were awarded to students pursuing a career in teacher education.

“Our students come with a passion to pursue their calling as educators,” said Sheri Ransome, advancement officer for the education school. “For many of these students, their Samford experience would not be possible without the generosity of our donors. Gifts to support scholarships allow our students to succeed in the classroom and go forth to positively influence and shape society.”

Catherine Frances Campbell, a sophomore from Northport, Alabama, received the Velma Wright Irons Memorial Scholarship, which is awarded to a student who has exemplified strong goals toward pursuing a career in education.

Emily Beroth, a sophomore from Valencia, California, received the Kathryn Abercrombie Scholarship, which recognizes a student who has achieved a high academic standing and exemplified outstanding character in the field of education.

Angela Napolitano, a junior from Daphne, Alabama, was awarded the Cooper and Dark Endowed Scholarship. This scholarship is made possible through the generosity of Edwin W. and Billie B. Bleier, who give in memory of their aunt and uncle, Jo Cooper and Henry W. Dark. Both Cooper and Dark served as teachers throughout their professional careers.

Mary Michael Jaquess, a junior from Daphne, Alabama, received the Alabama Power School of Education Endowed Scholarship, which was given in honor of Rev. Terry W. DeFoor.

Maggie Hohfeler, junior from Coppell, Texas, was awarded the Anne Glaze and William C. Stone Scholarship, which was established in memory of Charles R. Glaze and to honor Ila G. Glaze.

Ralph and Orlean Bullard Beeson, for whom the school was named, established several scholarship awards to recognize academic excellence, leadership, participation in campus activities and professional promise. This year’s recipients were Jacklyn Keller, a senior from Vinemont, Alabama; Jessie Gholson, a sophomore from Nashville, Tennessee; Hailee Underhill, a junior from Johns Creek, Georgia; Jessica Ray, a junior from Alpharetta, Georgia; Cara Prince, a junior from Woodstock, Georgia; Caitlin Berry, a senior from Berkeley Lake, Georgia; and Ashlyn Lett, a junior from Pell City, Alabama.

Several academic awards were presented at the event as well.

The Academic Achievement Award is awarded to students with the highest GPA for their year of study in their selected program. This year, the Early, Special Education, Elementary Childhood Collaborative program junior class recipient was Julia Bickley, from Edmond, Oklahoma. The senior class recipient was Kristen Fuller, from McCalla, Alabama. The Secondary Education program recipient for the junior class was Mackenzie Epps, from Burford, Georgia; and the senior class recipient was Mattie Newson, from Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Martha B. Ralls Most Promise as an Exemplary Teacher recipients were seniors Alan Lane from Alpine, Alabama, and Grey Adams Fairhope, Alabama.

The Most Promise to be a Teacher Leader recipients were seniors Ellie Knox from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and Mattie Newson from Charlotte, North Carolina.

Abigail Hancock, a senior from Roswell, Georgia, won the Kappa Delta Pi, Zeta Theta Chapter Award for Excellence in the Field of Education.

Jensen Harper, a senior from Lebanon, Ohio, won the Ira F. Simmons Award.

Lauren Valentino, a senior from Alpharetta, Georgia, received the Award for Outstanding Innovative Practice in P–12 Education and Hannah Snell, a senior from Raleigh, North Carolina, received the Carol D. Dean Award for Outstanding Service.

The John and Frances Carter Award for Teaching Excellence is awarded annually to four students who exemplify excellence in their chosen teaching area. This year, senior Jacklyn Keller from Vinemont, Alabama, received the award for early childhood education. Junior Sarah Mince from Vestavia Hills, Alabama, received the award for elementary education. Senior Abby Frady from Brownsboro, Alabama, received the award for special education. Junior Ashlyn Lett from Pell City, Alabama, received the award for secondary education.

Dean Jeanie Box presented the Education Dean’s Award to senior Lauren Hughes from Fultondale, Alabama. “She has shown superior performance throughout her time in the Teacher Education program,” said Box. “Her professors describe her as a natural leader, encouraging of others, always prepared, willing to go the extra mile and outstanding in all ways.”

Box also presented the 2017 Golden Apple Award to Lauren Lunceford from Vestavia Hills, Alabama. The Golden Apple is presented annually to an outstanding alumni educator who has shown excellence in and outside the classroom since graduation.

Lunceford completed her undergraduate degree and master’s in gifted education at Samford. She teaches second grade at Cherokee Bend Elementary and was recently named their Teacher of the Year. Additionally, she is involved in supporting education efforts in Uganda. 

Guest speaker and alumna Alyssa Barnes, an early intervention teacher, encouraged students to reach beyond their comfort zones as they move forward in their careers. “Don’t stay somewhere because you are comfortable. Step outside your comfort zone and take a risk. That is where the magic happens,” said Barnes. 

“Awards Night is such a special evening,” said Karen Birkenfeld, teacher education department chair, “As faculty, we feel blessed to be able to recognize all of our exceptional teacher education students and their accomplishments surrounded by their family, friends and peers.”
Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 66th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 104th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,683 students from 47 states and 19 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.