Ashton Vaughan: Nurturing Young Minds with Passion and Inspiration

Recently honored as the HCC Outstanding Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education (IECE) Student of the Year, Ashton is an educator at Holy Name Preschool.

"My inspiration for becoming a preschool educator begins with my Aunt Theresa, a former kindergarten teacher," Ashton shares. "I spent a lot of time with her in her classroom when I was growing up. She always found a way to connect with me and make learning fun. At the time, I thought we were merely playing a game or doing an exciting activity together, but she made everything a teachable moment."

For Ashton, teaching is not just a profession; it is a calling inspired by the care, compassion, woman with long blond hair and pink shirt smiling at the cameraand empathy she received from the many wonderful teachers in her life. "The positive influence of a teacher can inspire a love of learning that ultimately transcends the classroom and prepares students for a lifetime of success," she reflects.

Every day at Holy Name Preschool is a new adventure for Ashton. "Every moment with my students is a gift," she says with a smile. "On bad days, I remind myself that they are the reason I am here. I get to do something I love with the children I love, and I want to do right by them. If my spirits are low, they always find a way to make me smile and laugh when I open myself up to their joy and enthusiasm."

Ashton's journey to becoming an exceptional educator was nurtured at HCC, where she graduated in December 2023. "HCC provided me with a strong foundation of skills, knowledge, and experiences that prepared me for my career as an early childhood professional," Ashton explains. "I learned how to create meaningful lesson plans, manage classrooms effectively, and adapt my teaching style to meet the needs of diverse learners. With the guidance of experienced professors like Dr. Bridget Murray, hands-on training, and thought-provoking assignments, I developed essential skills and confidence for leadership in a classroom setting."

Reflecting on her journey, Ashton offers advice for aspiring educators. "My advice for anyone interested in becoming a teacher is to gain as much experience in the field as possible and to remain a lifelong learner," she advises. "Student teaching and observations serve as invaluable opportunities to become a more informed student and a better teacher. Consider keeping a notebook of the qualities, techniques, and ideas that inspire and motivate you. It will likely fill up quickly and assist you along the way. This field is constantly evolving, and each child is unique. Being adaptable and open to new ideas makes a very big difference throughout your education and career as a teacher."

We salute Ashton, and all the great educators in our area, for their passion, dedication, and commitment to nurturing young minds.