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Elementary Education Major Sydney Reid ’22: ‘I Want My Students To Be Able to Say Their Teacher Cared About Them Without Hesitation’

Sydney Reid

Growing up, Sydney Reid ’22 watched her mother work as a school nurse in a Title I elementary school. Early on, she pictured herself following in her mother’s path and pursuing a career in medicine because she loved science and math.

As she aged, she saw the difference her mother made in young lives every day working in a Title I elementary school. She also discovered how she could use her passion for science and math to inspire others to develop a love for those fields, too, through teaching.

Today, Reid is a sophomore in the NC State College of Education’s STEM-focused elementary education program, the only one of its kind in North Carolina. She plans to teach in a Title I elementary school after graduation.

“When [my mother] engaged with the children, their whole demeanor changed. They listened, smiled and were happy,” Reid said. “All my mom did was show them love, affection and discipline. The stories she shared encouraged me to teach in similar schools in order to make a similar difference.

“I saw the impact she had on the children, and I want to do the same,” she added. “Everyone deserves to have a great education no matter who they are.”

The J. Bryant Kirkland Merit Endowed Scholarship is making it possible for her to prepare to do that. Without the scholarship, she may not have been able to attend NC State.

“The pressure of paying for college can be a burden on any family, but scholarships like this are a great helping hand,” she said.

As an NC State College of Education student, Reid has been preparing to be a helping hand for others. During her first year, she was a member of the college’s Students Advocating for Youth (SAY) Village, a living and learning community that connects NC State students with underserved K-12 students for after-school mentoring. Today, she is an NC State College of Education Student Ambassador and participates in the Multicultural Youth Educators Network (MYEN), which promotes unity among diverse groups of students in the college and the university through cultural awareness programs and service projects.

“SAY Village was the best thing I could have done as a freshman. Not only did I meet some of my greatest friends, but I was able to mentor a local fourth grader at Fuller Magnet Elementary School,” she said. “My activities these past two years are really molding me into the woman I am ready to become.”

Through the various experiences, one thing she has learned is the importance of building relationships. Relationships, she says, are the foundation for developing respect and trust, and the foundation for growth in students.

“Building a relationship with your students is the first step to truly reaching them. When you take the time to get to know them, the respect, trust and support grows,” she said. “I believe that the first few days within a classroom is where the foundation of the class culture is built, and this process is not only crucial for the rest of the year, but it is also exciting.”

By building relationships, Reid hopes she is able to make a difference in the lives of young students like her mother did for many, many years.

“Even if my students do not remember what they learned in my class, I want them to remember our relationship and be able to say that their teacher cared about them without hesitation,” she said.