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NC A&T student talks need for diverse educators

During First Lady Dr. Jill Biden's visit to NC A&T on Monday, Jayden Seay spoke about the need for diversity in the education system.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — First Lady Dr. Jill Biden chose to come to Greensboro Monday to highlight success in education – saying the Triad is doing it right.

Dr. Biden kicked off her Road to Success bus tour at North Carolina A & T.

The tour is about highlighting solutions to big problems in education.

She made a stop at North Carolina A & T because the school is helping promote diversity among teachers. 

Elementary Education sophomore Jayden Seay spoke during the first lady's visit. Seay has his own reason to join the education field. 

"In my K to 12 schooling experience I attended a predominantly black and Hispanic school while walking throughout the halls I see people who look like me but when I enter my classes I was often the only student of color," he said.

Throughout school Seay said he rarely had a teacher that looked like him. 

"I was always in honor and gifted classes and I found myself feeling the need to prove that I belong there year after year unfortunately many students in our country struggle with issues of belonging and inclusion," he said. 

Seay said teachers make a difference in lives, just like three teachers made a difference in his. 

“I had only three black teachers, and none of them were men, in my entire school experience but I was fortunate to have them in my life as they were teachers who showed me I belong in the rooms where I found myself," he said.

Now, he hopes to make a difference in someone else's life when he becomes a teacher.

"After graduation, I will join the 2% of teachers who are black men, and I will continue this work of advancing education equity for greater justice. To reach this goal I will teach in underserved communities. I'd be the teacher that I wish I had as a young child," Seay said.

The first lady's visit aimed to raise awareness about the lack of diversity in education – so future students will have a more welcoming experience than Jayden.

"To better serve all of our students, our classrooms need diverse perspectives and the chance to learn from teachers of every single background," Dr. Biden said. 

Dr. Biden highlighted North Carolina A&T for its programs to get qualified educators in the classroom, like having their own Aggie Academy, which allows College of Education students to teach kids before entering the workforce.

Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona spoke about the achievements of NC A&T. 

"It’s your school that’s raising the bar people. That’s what we need to see a lot more of. We need to raise the bar for how we recognize the potential in every learner. We need to raise the bar for pathways students have, to careers, and higher education," Cardona said. "We need to raise the bar for reimagining our school system to include support for young people of all backgrounds. We need to stop the normalization of disparities and achievement and access across our country. We need to do it with the same urgency we had fighting the pandemic and the height of the pandemic."

More North Carolina A&T education students weighed in on the first lady's visit to their school and what it means for the institution as a whole.

"I feel like it's very important for us and I'll help us succeed moving forward," Elementary Education senior Reagan Cooper said.

"It's been awesome to get the exposure to understand how important we are to society and what we do matters," Tyreeka Williams, licensed counselor and 3rd doctoral candidate in Ph.D. and rehabilitation in the counselor education program said.

The road to success back-to-school bus tour started in Knoxville, Tenn. Monday morning.

Biden will also make stops in Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

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