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Embracing change, even in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, is crucial to the success of future teachers and their future students, said Eastern Kentucky University graduate Emily Devore. 


While many have lamented the need to pivot to new ways of teaching and learning, Devore said she and her fellow graduates can take those lessons to their future schools and use them to make a positive impact in others’ lives. 


She shared her inspiring words during the 2021 Fall Commencement Ceremonies for the colleges of Education and Applied Human Sciences and Health Sciences on December 3, 2021. Devore earned a degree in education. 


“I think this time right now is crucial for students and educators to become successful,” she said. “It has made us more versatile and broadened our skills at a fast pace. It has taught us to not give up and that we can be great educators, no matter what is being thrown at us.” 


As she recalled those at EKU who mentored her, who guided her through her educational experience, Devore reminded her fellow graduates that it’s their turn now. 


“You are an official teacher. It is now our responsibility to make a difference in children's lives,” she said. “Your students are always looking up to you. Even when it seems small and not noticeable.” 


While commencement means the end of the collegiate education experience, Devore reminded her fellow graduates that learning shouldn’t stop. 


“Take what life throws at you and keep moving forward,” she said. “You cannot become comfortable, but instead, stay open to learning something new each day.”


EKU recognized 1,341 degree candidates from its six colleges during its fall commencement ceremonies held December 3-4.