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Humans of Longwood: Kristen Chesley

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Courtesy of Kristen Chesley

This article originally appeared in the Rotunda on 3/19/17. An archive is here.

Kristen Chesley is a sophomore, majoring in elementary education at Longwood, and she prides herself on being involved in Big Siblings. Big Siblings is an student organization that helps underprivileged children in the Farmville area by matching them with a mentor, or “big sibling.”

“I’m not in a sorority or anything. It’s the only club I’m really into,” said Chesley.

Yet this club means a great deal to Chesley, and it is not hard to see why. She said she wants to be a kindergarten teacher because she loves to work with children. This is not her first foray into teaching either. In high school, Chesley was a member of Teachers for Tomorrow, and organization that prepares students for teaching.

“I wanted to do something here, make an impact on someone,” Chesley said. “I have wanted to be a teacher since I was in eighth grade.”

Big Siblings has “bigs” and “littles,” just like Greek organizations do. Chesley’s “big” often texts her to make sure that she is coming to the Thursday meetings, and fosters a bond between the two of them. Their relationship extends beyond just Big Siblings.

Chesley feels a very strong bond to working with younger children, which is why she wants to teach kindergarten.

“There’s something about (little kids) … you’re their foundation,” said Chesley. She feels that her positive experiences with her own kindergarten teacher helped her a lot during her early childhood. Chesley said that she experienced a great deal of hardship at home after her father was arrested and sent to jail for drug distribution.

“She (her kindergarten teacher) did everything she could to keep my mind off of it … I think she’s what made me want to be a teacher,” said Chesley. “I was born to be a teacher.”

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