We all know the impact our teachers have had on our lives. Six-year-old Cindy has had incredible educators that not only inspired her but also helped awaken her interest in the arts.
When a social worker at the hospital she was being treated for leukemia at connected her to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of North Texas, Cindy wished for nothing more than to be an art teacher.
In order to become a teacher, Cindy needed a college degree. The Make-A-Wish Foundation notified American College of Education, an online school that provides degree programs especially for teachers, about the wish, and the school agreed to host a full commencement ceremony and award Cindy an Honorary Master of Art Elements degree.
Cindy along with her best friend and family enjoyed a day to a local little girl’s salon and restaurant before arriving at The Wishing Place in Irving, TX. As she walked into the Disney princess-themed room, donning her very own blue cap and gown, Cindy could not contain her smile.
“She was very excited. She did not know this was going to be such an amazing experience and such a beautiful presentation,” said Cindy’s mother, Maria.
During her commencement address, she was reminded to embrace mistakes as part of the creative process, advocate for the arts in her school community, help her students to develop independence and creativity, and remember that, in the words of Pablo Picasso, “Art washes away the dust of everyday lives.”
On her wish day, Cindy was greeted at her elementary school by a crowd of nearly 500 classmates, the Hillcrest dance team, mascots and band. She then used her degree to take charge of her very own classroom, turning her dream into a reality. She assisted in teaching the art lesson and made sure to check on each student to see if they needed supplies or assistance. Throughout the day, she also managed other teacher duties including checking her mailbox, making copies in the workroom and putting together a bulletin board.
“I think the most important thing for our graduates to remember is the impact they have on students,” said American College of Education Provost Shawntel Landry, Ed.D. “When a student wants to be you and they want to be a teacher, it’s very powerful. Everything you do, every move you make is being watched by those students, and they emulate it.”
“Any prospective teacher or practicing teacher who has witnessed part of this event should never doubt the impact and the influence that he or she can have on a child’s life,” said Dr. Kenneth Craycraft, Chairman of the Board of Trustees at American College of Education.
Thank you to American College of Education, Dallas Independent School District and all teachers who make the lives of students a little brighter and more colorful each day!