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Andrea Johnson / MDN Madelyn Severson, MSU senior, will be walking across the stage during the Minot State University commencement ceremony on Friday at the MSU Dome.

Three Minot State University graduating seniors say the university has prepared them well for the future.

Madelyn Severson, who is originally from Leeds, will actually receive her diploma after she finishes her student teaching in her former school at Leeds next fall. However, Severson and her fellow elementary education classmates will still get to walk across the stage on Friday at the Minot State University Dome.

“I remember even when I was little, I’d always play school with my sisters and I was always the teacher,” said Severson, who also works as a part-time nanny when she isn’t attending school. “They never wanted to be the teacher. Then when I was in high school, we had a teacher’s assistant program and I was a teacher’s assistant for first grade. My favorite hour of the day was going in there and helping with the kids. I just knew it was something that I’d wake up and enjoy doing every day. ”

Severson just completed her practicums at Sunnyside Elementary in Minot.

She has worked with fifth-graders and enjoyed it more than she thought she would, but she would most like to work with the early primary grades.

Andrea Johnson / MDN Brooke Nelson, MSU senior, will be walking across the stage during the Minot State University commencement ceremony on Friday at the MSU Dome.

“I think my favorite age group would be first or second grade,” said Severson. “They still love you every day but they’re not quite sassy yet well (well, maybe) they’re a little bit sassy!”

Severson comes from a family of teachers. Both of her grandmothers were teachers and her older sister is a teacher in Minto. Her mom is a social worker and also loves working with kids.

Severson said she would like to eventually have her own family and raise them in a small town. One of the advantages of student teaching in Leeds is that she will be working with some of the teachers she knew growing up and who will be able to offer valuable advice.

Severson, an extrovert, said she has found it easy to make friends at Minot State, where there are always a lot of things going on, and all of the professors she has had had been extremely supportive.

“You’re not just another name on their grade book,” she said. “They know you.”

Andrea Johnson / MDN Darice Burdick, MSU senior, will be walking across the stage during the Minot State University commencement ceremony on Friday at the MSU Dome.

Darice Burdick, who is also in the elementary education program, went back to school after 25 years as a stay-at-home mom, many of them as a military spouse. Her husband, Erik, is now retired from the US Air Force.

“We’re empty nested,” said Burdick, who has three children and a grandchild. “It was time for me to do what I wanted to do when I grew up.”

Burdick just completed her practicums at Nedrose, working with third graders.

“Third graders are great kids but they’re a little young for me,” she said.

Burdick will do her student teaching in the fall at Erik Ramstad Middle School as a sixth-grade math teacher.

“I would love to teach middle school math, somewhere in the fifth to eighth grade,” said Burdick.

Burdick said being a military spouse and a mother and grandmother gives her a lot of valuable experience that she thinks will translate well to a classroom. She knows how to work with kids who might be going through something difficult at home.

Kids can learn better when they “Really know they’ve got someone in their life that supports them and loves them,” she said.

Burdick, a 1995 Minot High School graduate whose mother and grandparents also live in Minot, said she has also made good friends in the elementary education program.

Her family was a big help as she pursued her higher education goals.

“I don’t think you can do this without the support of your family,” said Burdick.

Another graduate, Brooke Nelson, is looking forward to starting her nursing career at Trinity Health.

Nelson has always been interested in the medical field and said some of the classes she took at Minot High School also pointed out her in that direction. Minot State’s nursing program has prepared her well.

“It’s been a great place to go to school,” she said.

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