Southeast Student Elected to Holmes Scholars National Board


Ke-La Harris

Southeast Missouri State University senior Ke-La Harris of St. Louis, Missouri, was elected Feb. 23 to a one-year term as the Holmes Honors Representative on the Holmes Scholars National Board.

“I feel very accomplished and blessed to be elected for this position,” she said. “I feel very supported and motivated in this organization. I am excited to start my new journey as the Holmes Honors Representative because it is something I never imagined doing until I became a Redhawk.”

The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) Holmes Program supports students from historically underrepresented groups who are pursuing careers in education at AACTE member institutions. Founded in 1991 for doctoral students and expanded in 2015 to support students at earlier points in their education careers, the Holmes Program now provides mentorship, peer support, and professional development opportunities at four levels, including students pursuing doctoral, master’s and bachelor’s degrees, and high school students.

Harris is a middle school education major with a mathematics concentration and hopes to pursue a career as a mathematics teacher after completing her degree at Southeast.

“Ke-La is an exceptional student. Her outstanding character and will power are paramount,” said Dr. Shonta Smith, associate professor of elementary education and coordinator of the Holmes Honors Program. “Her drive for excellence and perfection are reflected in her work.  Ke-La is ‘the Essence of Education.’”

Harris has been active in the Holmes Honors Program at Southeast for two years. The organization meets monthly, discusses career options, provides leadership and mentoring opportunities, and students engage in activities to help with time management, lesson planning, teacher prep exams and goal setting.

She ran for the national position, she said, because “it was a nice fit for me and what I want to do in life.”

She says she will be responsible for representing undergraduate students across the country who are associated with the Holmes Honors Program.

“I will be the voice for the undergraduate students, and I will be able to give insight from an undergraduate’s perspective,” Harris said. “I look forward to working with new people and meeting new people.

She campaigned for the position at the organization’s recent national conference where ballots for national board positions were cast.

“Southeast has never had an officer on the Holmes Scholars National Board before,” she said. “I am the first, and I am excited about this. I am hoping that after my term is up, one of my peers will run for this position as well and represent Southeast.

“I look forward to representing Southeast on a national level and expanding my leadership opportunities,” she added. “This program will continue to encourage me to follow my dreams in becoming a black educator.”

She is a graduate of the Lift for Life Academy in St. Louis.