It is no surprise that Kelly Valdivia is an education major. She lights up when talking about her student-teaching experience at Abraham Elementary School, the significance of literacy in early education and the importance of friendship in all aspects of life.
When Valdivia decided on Wake Forest, she was especially excited about the liberal arts experience she would receive. Having no clue what her major would be, Valdivia decided to take a class in the education department. From that point on, she was engrossed in the subject.
“I think when I started that path down the education department, I was very optimistic about what education was and didn’t totally understand what it meant to be a teacher,” Valdivia said. “I think through student-teaching and some of the other experiences I’ve had through the department, I really learned how hard it is to be a teacher but I also got to fully understand the rewards of being one.”
During her time in the department, she also worked to explore the relationship between technology and education in the classroom. Specifically, she got to travel to a conference with one of her professors to propose her teaching strategy. While there, she gave an example lesson and provided materials to other teachers who wanted to use her methods in the classroom.
Valdivia is also a double major in Spanish, which allowed her to study abroad her junior fall in Salamanca, Spain. Although at first glance these majors seem different, they ultimately came to compliment one another.
“It wasn’t too bad of a balance, they kind of fit together. When I was student-teaching I would talk to the parents whose primary language was Spanish and that was really helpful for the teacher because she didn’t speak Spanish,” Valdivia said.
Outside of classes, Valdivia is the Vice President of Recruiting for Helping Overcome Physical Expectations (HOPE). The club sends Wake Forest students to spend a few hours helping and playing with children who have exceptionalities such as down syndrome or autism. After joining the spring of her freshman year, Valdivia realized how much she enjoyed it.
“Getting to go there and take two hours out of my week to just remove myself from campus and be in a space with little kids that are so excited is great,” Valdivia said.
She is also passionate about many of the integral aspects of the Wake Forest campus — Lovefeast is one of her favorite events and she always strives to integrate Pro Humanitate into her life. Similarly, Valdivia has participated in the twelve hour Wake n’ Shake dance marathon all four years of her college career.
When asked what has defined her time at Wake Forest, Valdivia immediately brought up the close friendships she has made.
“I’ve just been so unbelievably lucky to have met the girls that I met … I literally hang out with them everyday,” Valdivia said.
After graduation, Valdivia will be moving to Dallas, TX to pursue her master’s degree in education. Through a program with John Hopkins University, she will be taking classes and hold a full-time position teaching.
“I’m excited to move on to the next chapter in my life, but at the same time it’s really hard to say goodbye to the things that you know and love. I’m going to miss walking around and seeing Wait Chapel everyday,” Valdivia said.