Commencement Spotlight: Bernita Colton, Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education

ASU Commencement Spotlight: Bernita Colton, Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education

2nd Grade Teacher, International Studies Elementary Charter School

Bernita Colton, a Greenough native, will graduate on Dec. 14 with a Bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. She is a member of the international honor society in education,  Kappa Delta Pi and a proud fellow of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund’s Teacher Quality and Retention Program , an elite research-based program that focuses on providing training and mentoring to new teachers.

What motivated you to leaBernita Colton Spotlightrn more about your field?

When my son was born, I wanted to give him the world (and I still do). I realized that I did not need a castle and endless riches to show my love. I could give him the world by exposing him to it. What began as me sharing my love of reading with him, evolved into teaching him reading fundamentals. The look of joy on his face when we would do STEM activities (hello messy volcano) or act out books (Ugly Pie), filled my heart tremendously. I realized that I have the power and the innate ability to touch as many children as possible in this same way. In short, my son helped me realize that I have the power to spark a child’s love of reading and learning, and that is what inspired me to learn more about the field of education.

Why did you choose ASU?

In 2015, I moved back to Georgia to be closer to my parents and siblings, and finish my education. Family is very important to me. Many people in my immediate and extended family are teachers, who have graduated from ASU. I saw these women and I was amazed that these are living examples of what ASU can do for me. I aspired to be a great educator and I knew in my heart that this was the institution that would best prepare me for my future.

What are your post-graduation plans?

My post-graduation plans are to, first and foremost, celebrate this moment for me. I took the road less traveled, to graduation, and it has been arduous at times. However, I am here and I know that it is important for me to live in this moment. Afterwards, I plan to give my all to my 2nd graders and begin working on my graduate degree in the summer. In addition, I plan to make time for my personal interests which include poetry/creative writing, my family genealogy, and exploring historic sites in our state.

What do you love most about your chosen profession?

My chosen profession is teaching and what I love most are the students. I love to see their eyes spark when they are fully engaged. I love building relationships with them and their families. Overall, I truly enjoy being in an environment where I can be my best creative and humorous self.  The weight of being responsible for shaping generations is a challenge that I am willing to take.

Who has made the biggest impact on you and who do you consider to be a role model at ASU?

When I first came to ASU, I was most impressed with seeing faces like mine who wear their hair the way I wear mine. I could see myself in them. These women came from the College of Education. Dr. Pogue, Dr. Washington, Dr. Medlin, and Dr. Decuir are all role models for me. Every time I see them, I am reminded of what strength, class, compassion, and knowledge look like for women who look like me. All of these women had equally large impacts on me. I am so thankful to have met them and to continually have had my bucket filled by them. To these wonderful ladies:  Thank you for pouring into me, so that I may pour into others.

What advice would you give to other ASU students?

Do not quit and do not overload yourself. Sometimes we need to hear it but it is okay to not finish your degree in 4 years. Pace yourself and remember that you aren't racing against anyone but yourself.

Other pieces of advice that are equally important are:

  • Get involved and put yourself out there.
  • Build relationships that have the ability to stand the test of time.
  • Get serious. Your education is not free.

Why would you say to a high school student about choosing ASU to further their education?

You are going to be in for a treat by choosing ASU. The culture is amazing and there is always a way to get involved and expand your horizons. You have not made a mistake....and make sure you turn in all of your paperwork early.