Kelsi Harris ’19: The Journey of a Lifetime

A photo of Kelsi Harris

An image stating "NC State College of Education Class of 2019"Kelsi Harris, an elementary education major, felt like she was in over her head when she first came to NC State. But a warm welcome and empowering instruction from the NC State College of Education helped shape her into a confident educator. In her time as an undergraduate student, Harris has received the college’s Spirit Award for her positive attitude and commitment to the field of education and traveled to China to student teach and observe trends in global learning. She plans to teach Kindergarten or first grade in Mecklenburg County after graduation.

She shares a letter she wrote to the college detailing her undergraduate experience below. 


Dear College of Education,

As my time in Poe’s halls comes to a close, I reflect on my experiences at this great university and all the places it has taken me — from the classroom to across the pond. It has taken me from a scared hometown girl to a confident educator of young minds. It has taught me far more than excellent coursework. It has changed me.

It is my honor to share my perspective on the time that I have spent on these hallowed grounds and the pride I have in the incredible people and ideas that have surrounded me and have made me who I am today and the educator I will be tomorrow.

Four years ago, I arrived on campus scared out of my mind. I was three hours from home and the first person in my family to go away to college. I had no earthly idea what to expect. I found myself on this huge campus, with a huge scholarship to live up to, and a trail to blaze for others in my family. Not to mention, I was nursing a severe concussion.
A quote graphic stating: “I have had the journey of a lifetime, met my closest friends, mentors and colleagues, and was inspired to think, dream and do the extraordinary for myself and my students.”

I vividly remember sitting on a bench that faces the Memorial Belltower and begging my parents to pick me up because “I could not do this” not even knowing at the time what “this” was. It turned out that “this” was immeasurably more than I could have asked for or imagined, in all the best and scariest ways.

Today, I stand here as a confident, prepared and excited educator of young minds.

I’m ready to walk across the stage and into my future. I have stood in front of a classroom of 5-year-olds looking to me for support, love and guidance. I have seen, felt and experienced three continents and three Wonders of the World. I have cried in the face of mountains of homework and conflicts that begged to be settled. I have developed as a student, a leader, a friend, a mentor, a speaker, an educator, a thinker, a dreamer, and most importantly, a doer.

From the first time I set foot in the College of Education, I was welcomed as family. I have found a home away from home in Poe Hall and have gained much more than an extraordinary education. I have had the journey of a lifetime, met my closest friends, mentors and colleagues, and was inspired to think, dream and do the extraordinary — for myself and my students. And this is only the beginning of what NC State has afforded me.

Thank you, NC State College of Education. What a wonderful beginning of a journey we’ve had.

Cheers to this new chapter,

Kelsi Harris ’19