Thank You, Mom and Dad

Thank you, Mom and Dad. Thank you for these last four years at App State. 

When I look back on my college experience, I see so much. Appalachian State has given me the most amazing four years of my life, and none of it could have been possible without you, Mom and Dad.

When I first came to App as a freshman, I was terrified. I had been to the campus thousands of times and I had my sister there completing her degree, but I was terrified. In the months leading up to move-in day, I could not wait. I thought I was so ready to get out of the house and be free to do whatever I wanted. Then the day finally came, and I realized I wasn't ready at all. 

We moved in, then went to get dinner and I watched you guys pull out of the parking lot and drive home. As the car faded from my view, I just started bawling. I had no clue how I was supposed to take care of myself with only a college dining hall and a 9 by 9 room that I was supposed to share with another person. It all just seemed so overwhelming. 

Freshman year was a mix of emotions, but it brought me some of my favorite memories. I met my boyfriend, and three years later, we are still going strong. I met some of the best friends I could ever ask for through joining Sigma Kappa. There were lots of ups and downs, but I left for the summer at the end of the year ready to come back for my second year. The next years went quite similar, spending nights snowed in at friends' apartments, watching movies and drinking wine, weekend visits to Charlotte, meeting new people in my major that would become some of my closest friends, getting the opportunity to intern in classrooms around the area that would change my life forever, and the list goes on. 

I found my passion for teaching a long time ago, but that passion was confirmed at App State. I solidified that teaching is my true calling in life. I got to intern and student teach in classrooms that opened my eyes to what being a teacher really means. I still get kept up at night thinking about some of my students who may not have a stable home life to go home to or who may not eat again until lunch the next school day. I got to provide emotional support to students who did not have anyone else to turn to. I got to see faces light up when they understood the math lessons I was teaching them. I got to lead some pretty awesome activities- I mean, what other way is there to learn metric conversions than to do Pokemon Go! around the school??

I even decided to stay one more year to get my Master's degree from the school that has given me so much. I am so excited to be able to spend another year in this beautiful mountain town I get to call home. None of this would have been possible without you, Mom and Dad. So as I am about to walk across the stage in about 30 minutes, know that I am here because of you two.

You both raised me to be a strong and independent woman. You knew before I was even born that as a woman, I would have to stand up for myself and support myself in a male dominated society. You raised my sisters and myself to not take any *crap* from anyone and to be comfortable enough in ourselves to be happy and live fulfilled lives. You raised me in the church, and to know that through God, all things are possible, no mountain is too high. You supported me when I said I wanted to be a teacher, a profession that doesn't get enough credit or appreciation. You supported me because you believed in my ability to change lives. You believed that I could handle the pressure from county and state officials who don't value education as a vital part of the community. You believed I could change the world in my classroom, and you knew I could do all of these things before I even did. 

I know raising me hasn't been easy, and I know when you get old and senile and can't live alone anymore, I will be the one you live with for payback. But, I don't mind. I can't ever repay what you guys have done for me, all the dollars spent and the nights worrying. It takes a very, very special person to raise three girls, and you guys knocked it out of the park.

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for everything. I couldn't have done it without you guys.