WWU Commencement Speaker, Fulton Native Shows Creativity in Speech

Nicole Langston speaks to the students receiving graduate education degrees at William Woods University.
Nicole Langston speaks to the students receiving graduate education degrees at William Woods University.

At the William Woods University graduate education commencement ceremony Friday night, Fulton native Nicole Ebersole Langston displayed the creativity that has earned her numerous teaching awards.

Instead of standing behind a lectern, reciting her speech, Langston called four children to the stage to assist her. Sounding like Bill Barker from “The Price Is Right,” she told the children, “Come on down.”

And, to cheers from the graduates and the audience, down the Cutlip Auditorium aisle they came: her students, Jahleel Wallace, 8, and Zeal Gandhi, 9; and her own children, John, 6, and Allie, 3,

The children proceeded to tell the graduating teachers and administrators to believe in their students and encourage their students to succeed—and change the world, one student at a time.

3 kids
Zeal Gandhi, 9; speaks, while John Langston, 6, and Jahleel Wallace, 8, look on.

Langston is principal of Southwest Early Childhood Center, the home of the non-traditional pre-kindergarten and elementary programs for Jefferson City PublicSchools. The center serves about 1,200 children each school year. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in early childhood education from Missouri State

Nicole Langston thanks John Langston, 6; Jahleel Wallace, 8; Zeal Gandhi, 9; and Allie Langston, 3, for their part in her commencement speech.  John and Allie are her children, while Jahleel and Zeal are students at Jefferson City’s Southwest Early Childhood Center, where Langston is principal.
Nicole Langston thanks John Langston, 6; Jahleel Wallace, 8; Zeal Gandhi, 9; and Allie Langston, 3, for their part in her commencement speech. John and Allie are her children, while Jahleel and Zeal are students at Jefferson City’s Southwest Early Childhood Center, where Langston is principal.

University), Master of Education degree in administration at William Woods University and her Education Specialist degree in education policy and analysis with superintendent certification at the University of Missouri.

Although 347 students were expected to receive Master of Education, Education Specialist and Doctor of Education degrees during the ceremony, the actual number participating was fewer than 50, due to the winter weather conditions.  Friday night’s ceremony will be available to watch online by going to www.WilliamWoods.edu.

Among the students unable to attend was Emily Libbert, the first student to complete an online degree from William Woods University. A middle school science teacher for the Blair Oaks School District in Wardsville, Mo., Libbert, who lives in Meta, earned a Master of Education degree in teaching and technology completely online.

Friday’s commencement was the first of two during the weekend for William Woods University.  Saturday morning 198 students received undergraduate or Master of Business Administration degrees.

Dr. Ed Easterling of Auxvasse, professor of business and economics at WWU, was unable to speak at the 10 a.m. Saturday ceremony because of illness.  Dr. Julian Hertzog, professor of education and psychology, spoke instead.