Morristown, N.J. (July 27, 2016) – Lauren Geleailen, '16, of Boonton, N.J., graduated from CSE summa cum laude with her B.A. in English, a minor in secondary education and a certification in teacher of students with disabilities.
"I really wanted that 4.0 GPA," she says. "But I ended up with a 3.98 because I got an A- in one of my classes. That really made me mad!"
That statement sums up Lauren's view on life. Do your best and when you think you have done your best, do it better. It is this attitude that garnered her the New Jersey Distinguished Clinical Intern Award for her student teaching. Lauren received glowing letters of recommendation from her cooperating teacher and two CSE professors.
"Fifty people were nominated and 15 received awards," she explains. "I was shocked when they called my name!"
Lauren was student teaching in Pequannock Middle School at the time and wrote her essay about helping a student and his family with his learning differences.
Lauren, who already secured a teaching position in the fall, is the second CSE student to receive this award in as many years. Nicole Francis, '15, won the same award last year. Also nominated and recognized this year were CSE students Perry Hooker and Delight Penaverde-McKitrick, both of whom were completing their ACT 1 certification.
Lauren has had some detours to her education, each giving her insight to her current path. Starting at a much larger university, her family needed her to return home during a difficult time. She then went to a community college, where she discovered that she did well in a smaller educational setting. This led her to CSE, where she excelled. In her senior year, she was inducted into Kappa Delta Pi, the national honor society for educators, which has high academic standards for membership.
Originally, Lauren thought she might follow a different career path, "something more glamorous," she says. Taking stock of the things that made her happy, she realized that helping others, especially seeing their reactions upon learning something new, was at the top of her list.
"I used to teach swimming lessons," she explains. "It was so gratifying to watch my students when the spark was lit."
She discovered through these experiences and as a substitute teacher in public schools, that teaching was her passion. She loved her English classes and had great interest in the different genres of writing.
"The professors filled the classroom with their passion for the written word," Lauren explains. "I not only learned to see literary arts with fresh eyes, but I learned how to create excitement about the topic in the classroom."
"It is the little things that build up a person's confidence on a daily basis. I was considered an individual at CSE," she explains. "I want to bring that same philosophy to my classroom."
Lauren believes that she is not just an English teacher, but a builder of caring and thoughtful people. She is preparing to begin her new position as a seventh-grade English teacher in Hoboken School District in New Jersey.
"I am very interested to explore this demographic," she says. "I have grown up and taught in the suburbs, so being in a city environment will be new for me. I am really excited to begin this new chapter!"