Graduating Senior Ja’Elin Ludgood talks about his journey as an aspiring male teacher

As commencement approaches, first-generation college student Ja’Elin Ludgood looks forward to completing his undergraduate education at Alcorn State University and beginning his education career shortly after.

Ludgood, a Mobile, Alabama native who will earn a bachelor’s degree in elementary education Saturday, May 13, during Alcorn’s Spring Commencement Ceremony, will begin his teaching career as a second-grade Language Arts teacher in the Hinds County School District in the fall.

Becoming a male educational professional gives Ludgood purpose. His presence in the field provides an example to other young boys that aspire to become teachers.

“Black male educators could provide hope, inspiration, advice, compassionate listening, and tough love to make a difference in students’ lives,” said Ludgood. “Our society has these specific stereotypes of gender roles. Children need to see other possibilities and other paths they could take.”

Striving to achieve excellence was instilled in Ludgood early in his life. One of the people he credits for inspiring him is his great-grandmother, Ms. Marian Finch Spencer. He thanks her for motivating him to pursue his dream of attending college.

“She always inspired me to strive to reach and accomplish my goals.”

Her encouragement led him to Alcorn, where he connected with people who are now like family. Those bonds that he holds close to his heart enhanced his student experience.

“It doesn’t matter who you are; if someone hears the word Alcorn or sees you in that purple and gold, they’d accept you with open arms. So family comes to mind when I describe Alcorn.”

Among the relationships Ludgood made, three of them stand out. He expressed his love and appreciation for his friends and their shared good times over the last four years.

“I can’t imagine going on this journey without Breanna Hall, Camryn Fry, and Dayjasia Wright. We started this journey in the fall of 2019 and have been stuck like glue ever since. You, girls, are incredible. You made me smile, laugh, and have been a source of encouragement.”

Ludgood is thankful for the journey.

“I have made so many lifelong friends throughout this four-year journey. For that, I am grateful.”