MSU-Meridian education major recognized as Stephen D. Lee Scholar

Contact:  Lisa Sollie
As a Stephen D. Lee Scholar, Katie Gilmore was presented a chrome cowbell from MSU President Mark E. Keenum at MSU-Meridian’s 2019 spring commencement ceremony May 2. (Photo by Jason Dyess)

MERIDIAN, Miss.—Leake Academy’s 2015 valedictorian Katie Stuart Gilmore, recently graduated with honors again—this time at Mississippi State University-Meridian as a Stephen D. Lee Scholar earning a 4.0 grade-point average throughout her college career.

“My grandmother was a teacher and I always felt like that was what I was supposed to do, but quite honestly, lots of people tried to dissuade me from going into education,” Gilmore said. “Once I changed my major, everything fell into place.”

Although she initially started her college career at MSU’s Starkville Campus, the Carthage native transferred to MSU-Meridian her junior year when she realized that elementary education was the right field for her.

In August 2018, the 22-year-old was hired as a first-grade assistant at nearby Union Elementary School and became part of MSU-Meridian’s Professional Advancement Network for Teacher Assistants initiative. Both the work and school locations were convenient for her since the previous spring she had married her high school sweetheart, Quint Gilmore of Sebastopol, and the two settled in his hometown.

“I loved being part of the PANTA initiative,” Gilmore said. “As an assistant, I saw firsthand how the entire school system works. When some of my classmates were only in the classroom a few days a week, I was there every day for all the meetings and behind-the-scenes stuff. I was involved in planning and instruction, even before my student internship began.”

Working full time also presented more of a challenge for Gilmore to maintain her 4.0 grade-point average, but she was determined and persevered.

“I’ve always tried to achieve in everything I do. I knew I was capable, but once I started working, I had a lot less free time to study and do school work. Quint was very supportive and always encouraged me to do my best, even when that meant cold cereal for supper many nights of the week,” she said.

Gilmore will continue to work at Union Elementary this fall, but she will have her own classroom.

“As a kindergarten teacher, I know I will set the tone for my students’ educational journey and create an environment that encourages children. I want my students to love school and desire to come and learn and be successful,” she said. “As an educator, I will help shape the future doctors, lawyers, engineers and even school teachers of this world.”

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