Fall 2020 Commencement

Congratulations seniors and graduates of the class of 2020!

Congratulations to the more than 1,700 Mountaineers graduating today — especially those graduating from the Reich College of Education and all teacher education majors at the university. We are so proud of all you've accomplished! Visit appstate.edu/commencement to see the ways you can view and participate in today's commencement ceremony.

Social Media Participation

Tag us too - #Firstteach #Firstlead #RCOEalumni

Recommended accounts to tag in commencement posts:
And add us too - @AppstateRCOE

Message from Dean Spooner and Student Speakers

Undergraduate Student Speaker

Jean Carlos Garcia Reyes

Jean Carlos Garcia Reyes

B.S. Elementary Education, Concentration in Diversity Studies

Jean Carlos Garcia Reyes is an elementary education major from Winston Salem, North Carolina, graduating with Summa Cum Laude Honors. During his time at Appalachian, Jean Carlos was very involved within the Reich College of Education and Appalachian as a whole. He served as an RCOE Education Peer Ambassador and formed part of many other clubs and organizations. After graduation, Jean Carlos will continue pursuing his Masters in Reading Education and Graduate Certificate in Teaching Emergent Bilinguals at Appalachian State University.

Graduate Student Speaker

Ezra Densley

Ezra Densley

M.A. Special Education

Ezra Densley is honored to be graduating with a Master of Arts in Special Education as well as certificates in Reading Education and Autism Spectrum Disorder. Originally from Pine Bush, New York, Ezra holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education from Appalachian State University. He was involved with multiple advocacy clubs in his undergraduate career in addition to being nominated for Appalachian State University Student Teacher of the Year. After graduation, Ezra hopes to teach students with disabilities in Chicago.

Mace Bearer Recognition

Kaaren HayesMs. Kaaren Hayes

Program Director and Outreach Coordinator for Avery & Watauga Counties
Parent to Parent Family Support Network-High Country (FSN-HC)

Kaaren Hayes ’96, of Valle Crucis, serves as the Program Director for Appalachian's Parent to Parent Family Support Network-High Country (FSN-HC). A grant and donor-supported community outreach program of App State’s Reich College of Education, Parent to Parent FSN-HC provides free support, caring connections, information and hope to families who have a premature baby, a child with a disability, an emotional or behavioral challenge, a mental illness or a chronic health condition, and to families who are grieving the death of a child, in the seven-county area of Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga, Wilkes, and Yancey. The program also provides resources to other professionals serving those families.

Kaaren has been with Parent to Parent FSN-HC since its inception in 1988, and she became the program director in 1998. She graduated summa cum laude from App State with a B.S. in Child Development/Birth-Kindergarten. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2005 Ann Royal Special Recognition Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Leo M. Croghan Foundation for distinguished contribution in the field of developmental disabilities, and from 2009 to the present, Kaaren has written 143 funded proposals for the university, which total nearly $850,000.

Parent to Parent FSN-HC works to share both the challenges children with special needs and their families face as well as the strength and resourcefulness of these same children and families. This approach has gained the program support and recognition throughout the High Country and from within the App State community. Kaaren says that one of the most rewarding aspects of her directorship is the dedicated involvement of App State student interns and volunteers to the program. She feels privileged to work with those who also believe passionately in support for children with special needs and their families.

 Additional story links:


Fall 2020 Commencement Live Stream

Fall 2020 Commencement Live Stream

Premiering Friday, December 11 at 4:00pm