Class of 2021: Kion Brown
"I grew up in several different housing projects watching my mom do the best job that she could with four kids as a single mother, so my motivation was to make her proud and show kids who grew up like I did that we don't have to be another statistic." Kion is graduating with his Master of Teaching degree.
Why did you choose the UVA School of Education & Human Development for your program of study?
I chose the UVA School of Education and Human Development because I knew that this program would allow me to become the best educator that I could possibly be. I also felt in my heart that there was no other school that would challenge me the way that I needed to be challenged in order for me to be the best version of myself that I personally envisioned.
What is the most significant thing that has shaped your time here?
I have had the honor of meeting new people and cementing relationships that go beyond the classroom. The professors here have given their students the tools to be successful, while at the same time caring about us as human beings first. I also could not have done this without the guidance of my former college basketball coach Kyle Getter (UVA men's basketball assistant coach). He has also been a huge staple in my success during my time at UVA.
What is one thing you learned during your studies that surprised you most?
One thing that I learned about my studies that surprised me the most was how demanding the graduate programs are. If you are not on the top of your game at all times you could severely fall behind and put yourself in a hole that can be very difficult to climb out of. Because the work is so demanding, it can also take a toll on you both emotionally and psychologically. Having already being a former student-athlete I was prepared to handle any adversity that I may have faced, and that experience played a vital role for me to be able to complete the program even though I mentally faced many tough days.
How are you feeling about being a member of the Class of 2021, completing your program in the middle of a pandemic?
It was an honor and one of the proudest moments of my life to be able to complete the program. Growing up in the inner city of Richmond, VA, you learn early on that nothing is given, everything is earned. I grew up in several different housing projects watching my mom do the best job that she could with four kids as a single mother, so my motivation was to make her proud and show kids who grew up like I did that we don't have to be another statistic. We are so much more than what the stereotypes may say we are. To be able to walk across the stage on May 21, 2021 will be the icing on the cake because ironically, that is also my mother's birthday. Everything I do I want to make her proud, and for me this tops the list.
What will you be doing next?
I will be working as a special education teacher for Alexandria City Public Schools.