May 13, 2008
2008 SGA SPIRIT Campaign
For Michelle May, a junior elementary education major from Alpharetta, Ga., college was not just “an option, but the plan” because her parents encouraged her to continue her studies. As a high school student, she struggled, but once she began college courses learning became enjoyable to her. Now Michelle constantly wants to learn new things to realize who she wants to be as an individual and a professional. She is striving to become a teacher that will inspire her students. “A college degree for me is not about a fancy diploma,” Michelle said. “It means applying what I am learning as a student, a person and as a future educator here at The Capstone and educating others so that they also may become the person they strive to be.”
Elyse McLaughlin is a senior new college major combining her two loves of children and dance. Like many first-generation college students, Elyse’s parents dreamt of a better life and better opportunities for her that they knew would come through getting a college education. Their dream has become her own dream, especially as she realized how much that education could do for her. “At The University of Alabama I have been able to pursue my two passions -- teaching preschool and dancing professionally -- that are going to help me realize all my dreams in life,” the Irondale native said. “My college education means that I will have the opportunity to make a child’s life better and touch lives in ways that will last throughout a lifetime, the way my teachers did .”
Guy “Trey” Standeffer
Trey Standeffer has been learning the importance of getting a good education his entire life, since his parents were constantly teaching him to respect the value of academic integrity and discipline. The junior secondary education English language arts major from Jasper, Ala., plans to inspire future first-in-family college students by instilling the notion of academic success in students. “I hope to be able to immediately start teaching in a rural high school, where many young people may have trouble attending college because of economic status,” he said. Trey also plans to obtain a master’s degree in counselor education so he can help students with their college decisions. He hopes that earning his degree from UA and becoming and educator is a way he can repay his parents for their years of support in his education.
Political science and philosophy major Justin Zimmerman is grateful for the chance to earn a degree from UA. He’s thankful that his parents were determined to help him find a way to go to college and pursue his dreams, which include becoming a civil right attorney, and that they remind him not to take the gift of education for granted. “I take their words to heart experiencing every opportunity of college life whether it’s through clubs, study abroad or participating in The Blackburn Institute,” the senior from Moreno Valley, Calif., said. “I can truly say that the University has helped me in pursuit of my ultimate dreams not only of becoming a successful person, but a person that moves towards making the world a better place.”