Published on May 15, 2019 by Sara Roman  
TeachingAwards BT

Samford University’s Orlean Beeson School of Education recognized the many accomplishments of the school’s undergraduate teacher education candidates at its 38th annual teacher education award ceremony.

Guest speaker and alumna Lindsay Self encouraged students to remember the qualities and traits that are conducive to becoming an effective educator. “You can remember these [qualities and traits] by keeping the primary focus of your chosen career in mind…TEACH,” said Self. Self provided the candidates with an acronym filled with advice.

T – Tenacious, “You see your students more than anyone so be tenacious in making your impact a positive one even when it would be easier to go with the flow.”

E – Evolution, “If you want your students to learn, grow and adapt, you must be willing to do the same…when you find out there is a better way, evolve.”

A – Anticipation, “Students sense biases even if you don’t recognize them within yourself…So anticipate them to be great and they will rise to meet your expectations.”

C – Compassion, “Challenging behavior is the manifestation of a need. Have compassion and see the need behind the behavior.”

H – Humility, “Be humble enough to listen to what your students are willing to tell you.”

“As your go out into the world and begin this work, t-e-a-c-h, your students depend on it,” said Self. 

Twelve named scholarship funds awarding $40,387 were awarded to 26 students pursuing a career in teacher education.

“Our honorees are already changing the field of education and will have the preparation and power to positively impact hundreds and perhaps thousands of lives of the span of their career,” said Karen Birkenfeld, Department of Teacher Education chair. “We were thrilled to have the opportunity to celebrate their hard work and commitment to the profession that launches all others!”

Michaela Hunter and Anna Fiorucci were the inaugural recipients of the Samford University School of Education International Internships annual scholarship.  The scholarship was created to provide school of education students with the opportunity to experience international internships in developing countries and allow them to work as teacher assistants/interns in schools that serve local (primarily underserved) children. Both Hunter and Fiorucci will travel to Terra Nova Academy in Kampala, Uganda this summer.

Alli Jernigan received the Velma Wright Irons Memorial Scholarship, which is awarded to a student who has exemplified strong goals toward pursuing a career in education.

Abigail Hawkins and Emma Lamstra were awarded the Kathryn Abercrombie Scholarship, which recognizes outstanding students who have achieved a high academic standing and exemplified outstanding character in the field of education.

The Orlean Beeson School of Education Legacy Scholarship is awarded to incoming freshmen students who feel called to work within education and/or in work that enriches the lives of families. Catherine Cowden was selected as the 2019 recipient.

Anna Fiourcci 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.

Caroline Dymond and Rose Tarwater were selected to receive the Jo Cooper and Henry W. 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.

Hayley Earle received the Alabama Power School of Education Endowed Scholarship, which was given in honor of Rev. Terry W. DeFoor for his many years of service to the Baptist Ministry and promotion of education for deserving students. 

The Raymond Christian Scholarship is awarded to a student preparing for service in public education either as a teacher, counselor or administrator. Hailey Schneider was presented with the award.

Chris Harmon and Colby Kuhn received the John and Frances Carter Endowed Scholarship. Frances Carter presented the awards to Harmon and Kuhn.

Orlean Beeson School of Education alumna Pam Smith and her husband Bill Smith presented Chris Harmon with the Bill and Pam Smith Family Foundation Scholarship. The Bill and Pam Smith Family Foundation Scholarship is awarded to students pursuing a career in elementary education, with preference given to those who are passionate about teaching mathematics and science.

Courtney Lauria was awarded the Brookwood Baptist/Nila Graham Campbell scholarship. The scholarship is awarded to a deserving undergraduate student, with preference given to those students pursuing a degree in Early Childhood Education.

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 Natalie Beeler, Olivia Cushing, Scout Brasfield, Amber Cruz, Ivy Adair Taylor, Jenna Rogers, Anna Fiorucci, Alex Smith, Molly Moriak, Lauren Pashley and Julianna Smith.

Assistant Dean Monique Gardener Witherspoon presented the Education Dean’s Award to senior Joyce Bousack from Birmingham, Alabama. “She has shown superior performance throughout her time in the Teacher Education program,” said Witherspoon.

Witherspoon also presented the 2019 Golden Apple Award to Starla Castle. The Golden Apple is presented annually to an outstanding alumni educator who has shown excellence in and outside the classroom since graduation.

Castle completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood, Special Education, Elementary, Elementary Collaborative (ESEC) at Samford in 2013. She returned to Samford to complete her Master of Science in Education in K-12 Collaborative Special Education in 2017. She is an instructor at Gresham Elementary where she was named the 2018-19 Teacher of the Year and was finalist for Jefferson County Teacher of the Year.

In addition to academic medals and scholarships, several academic awards were presented at the event.

Teacher Education Awards

Academic Achievement

Junior Class:
Hailey Schnieder and Katherine Collins Campbell for Early Childhood, Special Education, Elementary, Elementary Collaborative (ESEC)
Abigail Hawkins for Secondary Education
Senior Class: 
Bonnie Hankins for ESEC
Mackenzie Epps for Secondary Education, senior class
Martha B. Ralls Most Promise as an Exemplary Teacher: Nicole Payne for Early Childhood/Elementary and Bayley Sharp for Secondary P-12
Most Promise to be a Teacher Leader: Gabby Durik for Early Childhood/Elementary and Rachel Loughney for Secondary P-12
Kappa Delta Pi, Zeta Theta Chapter Award: Kayla Kugler Johnson
Ira F. Simmons Award: Josh Sumrall
Outstanding Innovative Practice: Kenzie Krantz 
Carol D. Dean Award for Outstanding Service: Maddie A. Smith
John and Frances Carter Awards for Teaching Excellence:
Makayla Hunter, early childhood education
Kate Campbell, elementary education
Sydney Russell, special education
Teighan Smith, secondary education
Lucille Stewart Beeson Award, Master of Science in Nursing: Amy Davis
Lucille Stewart Beeson Award, Doctor of Nursing Practice: Mary Lise Babin 
Resa Culpepper Award: Haley Silver

View more photos from the event.

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. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 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.