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Media Contact: Maddy Elledge
(706) 379-5319, [email protected]

Young Harris College Division of Education Hosts First Annual Bridging Ceremony and Fifth Annual Diversity Conference

YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. – The Division of Education at Young Harris College recently held the first-ever Bridging Ceremony on the YHC campus. Students who participated in the Bridging Ceremony went through an extensive and rigorous application process in the spring in order to be accepted into YHC’s Teacher Preparation Program.

“The application process was by no means an easy task to accomplish,” said junior education major Kenneth Boykin, of Columbus, Ga. “An education major student must truly be dedicated to the major in order to successfully complete the application.”

In order to signify this major accomplishment, Division of Education faculty and students created this special ceremony for juniors accepted into the Teacher Preparation Program.

“By creating this ceremony we not only recognized all of the candidates for the hard work they put in, but it also enabled us to take in the joy of officially being a teaching candidate,” said junior education major Laura Gregory, of Flowery Branch, Ga.

In addition to Boykin and Gregory, students who received certificates included junior music education majors Nathaniel Arnold, of Young Harris, Ga., Ashley Brannon, of Suwanee, Ga., Hannah Carter, of Hogansville, Ga., Nicholas Fortenberry, of Powder Springs, Ga., Jessica Holzworth, of Jasper, Ga., Kate Snell, of Elko, Ga., early childhood education majors Emma Brown, of Norcross, Ga., Lynda Chastain, of Blue Ridge, Ga., Andria Deering, of Trion, Ga., Audrey Gilliam, of Blairsville, Ga., Taylor Hennum, of Buford, Ga., Diana Lane, of Lawrenceville, Ga., Meghan McQuade, of Hayesville, N.C., Kaylee Parker, of Jasper, Ga., Elizabeth Roberts, of Marietta, Ga., Kristen Thigpen, of Suwanee, Ga., and middle grades education majors Kaila Reece, of Hiawassee, Ga., Kathryn Rittenhouse, of Blairsville, Ga. In addition, Gabrielle Coumes, of Loganville, Ga., received a certificate for secondary broad field science and Karlee London, of Murphy, N.C., received a post-baccalaureate in early childhood education certificate.

These students also received a pre-service certificate form the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, and will eventually receive a professional teaching license from the GPSC upon completion of the Teacher Preparation Program.

The Division of Education and YHC’s Student Professional Association of Georgia Educators (SPAGE) also recently hosted the fifth annual event on issues of diversity in education on the YHC campus. The event entitled “Perspective Taking: A YHC & Spelman College Learning Exchange” was designed to teach different perspectives on various issues in the education field including discrimination, stereotypes, relationship-building, privilege and policy.

“Our professors work hard to pour into our education so that in turn we pour into the education of our future students,” said Boykin. “This conference was so important for us because we discussed issues we will face in our classrooms in a few years.”

With more than 60 students and faculty in attendance, the conference was designed to reflect the Gracious Space framework from the Center for Ethical Leadership. This allowed for the entire program to be interactive as students had the opportunity to led activities. The Learning Exchange not only broadened the mindset of the participants, but it also created a platform for friendships to build on. 

“With my education certificate and the lessons I learned from this conference, I hope to inspire students to be the best they can be,” said Gregory. “YHC has given me confidence and if I could offer just one student that in my own classroom, I know that I will be doing my job as an educator.”

Several YHC faculty and staff members from outside the Division of Education also participated in the conference including Assistant Professor of Communication Studies and Chair of Department of Communication Studies Dr. Chris Richardson, Dean of the Chapel and Chaplain Rev. Blair Tolbert, Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards Erica Watson, Associate Professor of Communication Studies Dr. Jennifer Hallett, and Assistant Professor of Communication Studies Dr. Kathryn Frank.

For more information on the Division of Education and YHC’s Teacher Preparation Program, call (706) 379-5275.

About Young Harris College
Young Harris College is a private, baccalaureate degree-granting college located in the beautiful mountains of North Georgia. Founded in 1886 and historically affiliated with The United Methodist Church, Young Harris College educates, inspires and empowers students through the highest quality liberal arts education. The College currently has more than 1,100 students across five divisions—Education, Fine Arts, Humanities, Mathematics and Science, and Social and Behavioral Sciences. The historic campus in Young Harris, Ga., has completed major campus improvements to accommodate the College’s growth. Recent LEED-certified campus improvements include the 121,000-square-foot Rollins Campus Center, new residence facilities, and a 57,000-square-foot recreation and fitness center. The College is an active member of NCAA Division II and remains a fierce competitor in the prestigious Peach Belt Conference. YHC is among fewer than 300 colleges and universities nationwide named to the 2016-2017 list of Colleges of Distinction and is listed as a “Best National Liberal Arts College” by U.S. News & World Report. For more information, visit

YHC Diversity Learning Exchange

Students who were accepted into the Teacher Preparation Program were declared new YHC teacher candidates during the Bridging Ceremony.

YHC Diversity Learning Exchange

Students, faculty and staff from YHC and Spleman College came together for the fifth annual event to teach different perspectives on various issues in the education field including discrimination, stereotypes, relationship-building, privilege and policy.


View more photos of the fifth annual Division of Education Learning Exchange>>