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  • Writer's pictureStella Beeson

Student Spotlight- Delaney Rakuita

The Early Childhood Education (ECE) program at the McKay School is a perfect major for those wanting to teach younger kids, ranging from birth to 3rd grade. The program focuses on child development and how to best help them grow and learn.

Last week, I had the privilege of meeting with Delaney Rakuita—a hardworking student in the ECE program. While studying full-time in school, Delaney also works two other jobs. She works doing what she loves- interacting with children at the preschool on campus, as well as working on the diversity scholars team in the McKay School of Education. This means she is mentoring new students who are both first-generation and multicultural students. On top of that all, she is also a member of the BYU Women's Rugby team! Go Cougs!

Delaney started studying Sociology at the beginning of her BYU career. She loves working with and learning about race, ethnicity, and poverty. She said, “I always knew that I wanted to work with kids somehow. I just thought I was going to be a social worker and that's why I went with Sociology. But then teaching kind of came along, so I've been doing that now” she said, “if you really want to make a difference in the world, or make a change in someone's life, teaching is the best way to do it. There are so many students that need someone to care for and believe in them.”

Delaney comes from a single-parent household where her mom provided for all four members of her family. Her mom was a preschool teacher at a homeless shelter, and she grew up working with her. She saw firsthand how much of a disadvantage the children in the preschool had with the little to no resources available for them. Delaney said, “I would always go help her in the classroom and volunteer any time I could, even during my summers. This really helped shape me into wanting to be a preschool teacher as well.”

Delaney chose to teach preschool-age children instead of older kids since, “they're at the stages of their life where they're first learning how to read, first learning how to do math, and reaching big milestones, and they have such a sense of wonder. It is an amazing thing to watch them unfold as you’re giving them the opportunity to grow.

Delaney's ultimate goal is to be a teacher at a title-one school where resources are lacking and she can make a difference. She says “I was very fortunate to go to a school that had a lot of resources, but many students are not as fortunate as I am. I want to be able to make a difference in other students' lives.”

Delaney pictured with her niece, shares that “my oldest niece has autism and is non-verbal-she is one of the reasons I want to be a teacher as well"

When asked about what she does when it comes to negative comments about becoming a teacher, Delaney shared a quote from one of our very own staff members here at BYU, Sarah Rollo. She said, “...just say to them: I will be the person teaching your future doctors, lawyers, and accountants how to read and do math”. Teaching is a profession that makes all the other professions possible.

We are grateful to Delaney and all the other students who are working hard to become a teacher. Learn more about the ECE major- meet with an advisor or a student ambassador!

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