As she walked up the steps of Old Main one night last week, Mikayla Schnell felt a strong sense of nostalgia, pride and purpose.
“Coming back was really meaningful to me,” said the 2017 Lakeland University graduate. “Knowing I was returning to help current student-teachers was really cool. Lakeland is such a family, and giving back to the next generation of family members means a lot.”
Schnell, now a kindergarten teacher at Janssen Elementary School in the Kimberly Area School District, returned to Lakeland to speak to three current LU student-teachers about their upcoming edTPA performance assessment requirements.
Schnell, LU’s 2016-17 Outstanding Student in Education, gave advice about how to best video and document their classroom experiences.
While at Lakeland, Schnell, a native of Kiel, Wis., exceled. A Dean’s List student, she was also a standout trumpet player in the concert band and jazz band. She breezed through the Praxis I and II and the Foundations of Reading exams. After a successful student teaching stint in Sheboygan, she received a phone call from the Janssen Elementary School principal.
“I was so nervous I was shaking,” she recalled. “He started the conversation by asking me if I liked blue (Janssen’s primary school color). Then he asked me how many royal blue clothes I have in my closet. I told him not a lot, but I can buy more. Finally, he asked me if I like bulldogs (Janssen’s mascot). Then he offered me the job.”
She misses LU, but wakes up each morning with a smile, knowing she’s about to impact the lives of 17 bright-eyed youngsters.
“I just love it,” she said. “I love the age of these children, because they are always so excited to learn each and every day.”