Kendall Liggett, Class of 2020

Early childhood education major and student-athlete Kendall Liggett isn’t waiting until she gets to the front of a classroom to teach, lead, and help others.

Strengthening Teaching Skills by Mentoring Others

While studying does keep this Dean’s List student quite busy, Kendall is heavily involved on campus. She’s a proud Riv Raider — an infielder for the softball team — and she dedicates time and talent to many student organizations and campus programs.

Kendall can’t recall a time when she didn’t want to become a teacher. If you were to follow the Merrimack River 20 minutes north of campus, you’d run into the small town of Litchfield. There, more than a decade ago, a young Kendall held her first class. At home. Teaching her parents.

“I used the driveway as a chalkboard for my ‘lessons,’” she said. “I recall giving my parents ‘homework.’”

Kendall was drawn to Rivier for many reasons; for one, her mom is a graduate. Its reputation also played a part, as she explained, “Rivier University has one of the best education programs in New Hampshire.” Throughout high school she played softball, and continuing to be part of a team was vital. But one particular benefit sealed her decision.

As Kendall researched, visited, and applied to colleges, she discovered that, at Rivier, she’d have the chance to get hands-on experience earlier than at other, especially larger, schools. Or, as she put it: “We start basically right away.” And she did.

She Started Strong

Through partnerships with local school districts and the on-campus Landry Early Childhood Education Center, Rivier offers future teachers myriad ways to gain practical experience.

“We’re in the classroom second semester, freshman year,” said Kendall. “Starting early allows us to know if teaching is what we want to do for the rest of our lives… and to better understand, maybe, where we want to teach after graduating,” she said.

Not only did Kendall observe classrooms, create lesson plans, and engage with children at area schools, but she also spent significant time with each grade level that falls under early childhood education, Kindergarten through third. This experiential learning reinforced her passion for teaching and confirmed she was happy with her career path. And, in the process, Kendall made an important discovery: “First grade is the dream grade for me!”

Looking to gain as much real-world experience as possible before graduating in 2020, Kendall is intentional about her part-time jobs. She served as a camp counselor for SummerQuest, an annual program hosted by a local independent school, World Academy. On campus, she works with the Admissions Office as a student ambassador: “I’m able to share my experiences with prospective students and their families while showing them the place I love the most.”

She’s Making an Impact

Kendall’s school spirit and nurturing nature are also evident in her choice of extracurricular activities. Becoming an orientation leader, for example, was a perfect match for her strengths and interests — and it allowed her to connect with students at the earliest point in their Riv experience.

“Over four days in the summer I get to help a group of incoming freshman students get excited about their college career at Rivier,” she said. When the fall semester begins, Kendall continues to support the newest members of the Riv community. As a Peer Mentor, she checks in once a week with her assigned mentees to “help them overcome the struggles and worries of coming to college after high school.”

That mentoring mentality seems to follow her everywhere, including into the locker room and onto the field. “I’m able to be a mentor for the younger players, as well as listen to any problems they might have in their social lives while at school,” she said.

Kendall contributes to the overall campus experience, too. She’s a member of the Student Government Association, where she pledges to “make sure voices are heard.” And, as a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, she helps plan events that unite student-athletes with the rest of campus.

“I definitely think I’m making an impact at the university, especially for other students,” she said. “I one-hundred-percent believe that I am helping students look forward to going to class and get excited about their major.”

She’s undoubtedly still excited about hers.

“I am so thankful to be a part of this program, learning the best way for me to teach tomorrow’s leaders,” said Kendall. In the meantime, though, she’s mentoring new students, supporting her teammates, inspiring campers, and leading her fellow Raiders: all this while excelling in the classroom. She was inducted into Chi Alpha Sigma, the student-athlete honor society.

“[This accomplishment] has proven not only to others but also to myself that I can do the two things I love the most: teaching and playing softball — and succeed at both,” she said.

“My hard work in and out of the classroom definitely pays off and has helped shape me into the person I am today.”