Cheyann Ellis ‘20

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a senior, child development education prep major with a minor in sociology. I am from Brookline, N.H. and am a student ambassador and a resident assistant. I work in the President’s Office and at the Windy Hill School on campus. I am also a member of the Presidential Blue Key Society and am the president of the Child Development Club.

When did you decide to go into teaching?

I often get asked this question. Sometimes, I stick with a more cliché answer, such as I have a love for enriching the lives of children and the community. Or I will talk about how it isn’t for the honor or the respect, but rather for the small flashes of a child’s life that would be forever changed without their teachers. But more personally, I have found my love and desire for teaching to be a part of who I am as a person.

I could start by thanking the amazing group of educators who I had growing up for my interest in teaching. These people have shown me the happiness involved in assisting the upcoming generations. I grew up in a household of reputable community members. My mother is a member of the Milford Police Department, and my step-father is the Assistant Fire Chief for Brookline. My mom, one of the strongest women I know, has shown me how to act in society, how to hold my own and work through difficulties. My stepdad taught me to experience life and give back to the community. These humble people were, and still are, my biggest role models and influencers.

My stepdad was my best friend and it is safe to say that he had the biggest influence on how I became the person I am today. I watched him serve his community, selflessly, for most all of my childhood. I wanted to live my life the way he did every day. He was much more than just a firefighter. He stood for love and compassion to his family and strangers alike, and he always put an emphasis on my education and future. Although he was busy and his schedule was always changing, he made it a priority to sit down with me after dinner and assist me with my homework. Over a hundred multiplication flashcards were made and tons of cookie demonstrations were completed, and through this I realized a love for my education. I saw the pride that he took in my future, and I had a desire to be this person for someone else. Sadly, I lost him during my sophomore year of high school and went through a lot of self-realization at this time. It took me a while to process this life event, but while I transitioned into college life at Colby-Sawyer, my future became clearer. The Upper Valley Educators Institute (UVEI) partnership was beginning, and a class was offered for those interested. This class was set to involve practicum hours in a second grade classroom, which ended up being the most amazing experience. Through this hands-on classroom experience, I realized that teaching was what I wanted to do in the future.

How did you choose Colby-Sawyer?

Colby-Sawyer had been on my radar due to a close family friend who had come here. I visited campus and toured a couple of times before fully committing. Leaving high school, I had a lot of personal events that had me nervous about leaving home for school and I questioned that decision for a while. But, I have found my home at Colby-Sawyer. I found my people and my support system. The campus is beautiful, but the community is what makes our school home. The faculty and staff, and my numerous supervisors around campus, express support through academics, and more importantly through personal, emotional and social life, as well. I feel safe at Colby-Sawyer and am always genuinely sad to leave on breaks. This is how I know that I made the right decision in my college search four years ago.

What is your favorite thing about CSC?

It is no doubt that CSC is a beautiful campus, but my favorite thing about Colby-Sawyer is the people that fill the community. I have met amazing staff and faculty who have been my support system, as well as friends who have become family. The community of Colby-Sawyer is what makes our college so unique and special.

You have mentioned before that you are thankful to Professor Amy Carrier Lyon ’85 and Professor Kathleen Farrell. Can you tell me why you are thankful for each of these individuals and how they have made an impact on you?

I am so thankful for all of the amazing people that I have met at Colby-Sawyer, both professionals and students. Professor Amy Lyon and Professor Kathleen Farrell are just two of the individuals from CSC that have positively impacted my life. Kathleen Farrell has been a part of my academic life from my sophomore year to the present. She is more than just a professor. She is a resource and an advocate for those who may feel like they have no one else, and that is something I really admire. She has gotten me through a lot, academically, and I am so grateful that she has pushed me to where I am today. Amy Lyon is an amazing addition to our CSC community. Amy is not only my professor and my academic advisor, but also a mentor and a role model. She has assisted me with the change of major from child development to now child development education prep, which involved the UVEI component. She has watched me succeed, as well as struggle and at times fail, but I never doubted that she would be there through it all. Amy has turned into one of the biggest members of my support team and has instilled so much more confidence in myself than I could have ever imagined having. I am so thankful for her love, her support and guidance, and can only hope to be as amazing of an educator as her one day. Colby-Sawyer has some of the most supportive staff and faculty, and I am so grateful for all members of my support system.

You mentioned that you want to go on to get your master’s degree. Do you have any ideas where you might want to apply? Local or far?

Through the partnership with Upper Valley Educators Institute, I will be a student teaching intern for the spring 2020 term. I plan to complete my master’s degree with UVEI, after I finish my undergraduate student teaching.

What is your plan after this?

After getting my master’s degree, I am hopeful to get a job teaching, but I am also really interested in traveling and seeing the world, so we will see where this life takes me!

What would be your dream job?

My dream job is to teach. I want to be an elementary school teacher, although the location is still up in the air. I’m open to the possibilities of working with children who may not have ever had access to a proper education or working with kids in hospitals who aren’t able to attend a traditional school setting. I’m not entirely sure what exactly I will end up doing, but I know that I want to work towards educating future generations.