Thank You

Jeremy Kirby ’18

There are few things in modern society more vibrant than the enthusiasm of first-year teachers. These dedicated souls start their careers with infinite hope, implementing every tool for success acquired from higher education. Jeremy Kirby ’18 came from Wilson, North Carolina, to study elementary education and found much more.

Kirby returned to his hometown to teach at John Wesley Jones Elementary School, instructing fifth-grade science. His welcome newsletter for his current students and parents reflects the tenacious commitment to student success at UNCG with the words of an ardent educator: “Excited,” “encourage,” “believe,” “passion,” and “lifelong learners” dance across the page. Providing some autobiographical background, Kirby acknowledges support from the “village” that helped him through college.

That village included Cornelia Marshall DeBerry, who graduated from the State Normal and Industrial College in 1910. She created the Katharine Smith DeBerry and Cornelia Marshall DeBerry Scholarship Fund as a permanent memorial to her beloved sister, Katharine, who died while also attending the college that would become UNCG. Kirby is a proud recipient of their scholarship, which is awarded to deserving students in elementary education.

Teacher training requires student teaching, and Kirby’s final semester as a fifth-grade student teacher presented challenges in learning the skills of prioritization and time management, while also developing his leadership qualities through campus activities and the Lloyd International Honors College (LIHC).

“I was presented with the opportunity to complete the International Honors Program (through LIHC), and the Disciplinary Honors (DH) Program,” Kirby recounts. “Through the courses offered and study abroad, the International Honors Program opened the door to discover the meaning of becoming a lifelong learner and the empowerment of service as a global citizen. The DH program increased the rigor of my education requirements, as it demanded the development of an independent research focus and incorporating the project within my internship responsibilities. I was able to graduate with Full University Honors. This accomplishment resulted in more than just the recognition at our commencement ceremonies but revealed a tenacious scholar in myself that I doubted existed several times throughout my college career.”

Kirby’s faith helped him discover transformative dimensions of personal growth.

“While at UNCG, I was provoked to find and develop steadfastness within myself (through my faith in God) that has allowed me to embrace the challenges I am currently facing as a beginning teacher.”

Kirby came to UNCG to become a teacher. He found a supportive Spartan village and the steadfast scholar within himself.

Story by Zoe Dillard, Donor Relations


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P. Kevin Williamson

Associate Vice Chancellor