Alex and Lindsay Beaird of Bernie, Missouri, are the epitome of just that kind of family. Both will receive their diplomas from Southeast Missouri State University May 14 as their children cheer them on.
Alex and Lindsay both grew up in Missouri and chose Southeast for its solid reputation for teacher preparation.
“Southeast was the best option for a teaching program that I could attend locally. I think that the education program at Southeast is as good as or better than any other in the state,” says Alex. “I personally feel prepared for my career. I also believe that the University Studies program is an excellent way to ensure that graduates are well rounded. Sometimes in life you will pull from material that you learned in other disciplines. Knowledge is the torch that illuminates reality.”
Lindsay added, “My mother is a Southeast alumna, and the school has a good reputation in the area.”
The Beairds have walked this path together with Lindsay pursuing a Bachelor of Science in social science with emphases in psychology and sociology, and Alex pursing a Bachelor of Science in Education, middle school education, with emphases in English and social studies.
Lindsay said, “The study of social science is a worthwhile endeavor for understanding our increasingly pluralistic society. This particular skillset can apply to a wide variety of career paths, including my own in the public school system.”
The Beairds say their experience has been challenging but worthwhile.
“It has been hard at times, but luckily we have had family to help us out with the kids,” Alex says. “It was a struggle, for example in the fall of 2013, we had our youngest son. We were both enrolled full-time. I am not sure how Lindsay pulled it off, but she had him on a Thursday night. Malden Campus only has class Monday-Thursday. She recovered over the weekend, and didn’t fall behind. It was hard, but the end result is worth it.”
This is a common occurrence, with each giving credit to the other for their success.
“We had some of the same classes together, and we were fiercely competitive. I think some of the professors got a good laugh out of that,” Lindsay says. “In all, I would say that it was good, because we knew what each other was going through, and that helped us understand each other better.”
Nonetheless, “Hard work and determination are a necessity when you are a non-traditional student,” Lindsay said.
The Beairds both attended Southeast Missouri State University-Malden at the Bootheel Education Center. They say they are thankful to have a higher education opportunity so close to home.
“The Malden Campus is convenient, adequate, perhaps even a beacon of hope for the economically depressed Bootheel,” says Alex. “The fact is that ITV (interactive television) makes it possible to get University level coursework that is located only minutes from where I live. It has drawbacks, of course, but it is an excellent medium for those of us who are ‘non-traditional.’ Of course, it should be stated that a great benefit is small class sizes. In fact, the people that I took a lot of coursework with became like a little family. I am not sure that you would get that experience elsewhere, but who knows.”
Both say they enjoyed their time and hope others see the Malden campus for the jewel that it is.
“I met a lot of interesting people, and some of the regional instructors are great contacts to make for professional networking,” says Lindsay.
Graduating is quite a feat, but to do it together, as a family and maintain a household is an enormous accomplishment.
After graduating, Alex plans to teach middle school English in Malden, Missouri, and Lindsay will continue her work at Bernie School in Bernie, Missouri.
The Beairds will not revel long in their achievement; they both plan to return to Southeast to pursue master’s degrees.
“Success depends on perseverance more than any raw amount of skill or intellect,” Alex said.