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MSU Student Intern Works with Third Graders at West Hills back button

Meridian Star

December 15, 2012

MSU-Meridian commencement celebrates accomplishments

Special to The Star

MERIDIAN — Cierra Ball knew she wanted to be a teacher after working at the Meridian Boys and Girls club.

She realized her dream when she received her bachelor of science degree in elementary education during MSU-Meridian’s fall commencement program held Friday at the MSU Riley Center.

Ball was one of 110 students from three states and 37 Mississippi towns and cities who earned a degree from Mississippi State University. The commencement address was given by Beth Clay, founder of The Clay Firm in Jackson.

A student intern in Sharon Henry’s class at West Hills Elementary, Ball spent the past few months teaching reading to 90 third-graders.

“Although I was kind of in shock the first couple of days in the classroom,” Ball noted, “everything I learned at MSU-Meridian was very helpful in preparing me for this. Once I settled down, all the instruction I had received about lesson plans and assessments and the rest of it just ‘kicked’ in. My overall experience (with student teaching) has been fantastic. Mrs. Henry really helped me, particularly with classroom management, an area I needed work on, and I’m grateful.”

Henry, a 20-year veteran educator, also learned a thing or two from her intern.

“Cierra is very innovative and the children really benefitted not only from the hands-on activities she planned but also those ‘teachable’ moments that cropped up during class,” commented Henry. “I also benefitted from her creativity and I wrote down lots of things that I want to try next year or even next semester that I learned from her.”

Graduating in the middle of the school year may make it difficult to find a teaching job, but Ball has plans to either substitute or prepare for graduate school while she looks for work.

“Regardless of what I do come January,” she stressed, there is truly no other place I’d rather be than in the classroom.”

Cierra Ball, MSU Intern, working with third graders in Sharon Henry's class at West Hills Elementary School.

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