A daughter and granddaughter of schoolteachers who says "education runs in my blood," Marguerite Colton '99, has pursued her vocation with a passion since childhood.
As a fourth-grader at St. Matthew's Catholic School in Philadelphia, she struck a bargain with her teacher: If she scored a perfect 100 on an upcoming test, she would be allowed to teach the class. Colton rose to the challenge and one morning soon thereafter exchanged her school uniform for lay dress to play teacher-for-a-day.
"I taught about magnets, and stayed after school and corrected papers. I loved it," recalled Colton, who graduated from the Lynch School of Education on Monday with the University's highest Commencement honor, the Edward H. Finnegan, SJ, Memorial Award.
Colton's zeal has been just as strong during her time at Boston College, where she helped organize a highly successful undergraduate volunteer group for the Campus School, which serves children and young adults with multiple disabilities. She also overcame a learning disorder to attain a cumulative 3.8 grade-point average while pursuing a degree in elementary education and computer science.
Her strong work ethic and commitment to service earned Colton the Finnegan Award as the graduating senior who has best exemplified the Boston College motto, "Ever to Excel."
"She is totally committed to showing care and encouragement to others less fortunate," said Campus School Volunteer Coordinator William Lambert in nominating her for the honor. "Marguerite is a totally giving person with unequaled energy, enthusiasm and dedication, a 'leader's leader.'"
"Teaching is the most important profession in the world," said Colton. "It's a really exciting time to be in education and I feel BC has prepared me extremely well."
Colton plans to return to her hometown of Churchville, Pa., this summer to teach in a program for children with multiple disabilities, and hopes to make a career working with handicapped children in the classroom.
As president of the Campus School Volunteers, Colton organized benefit golf tournaments and Beanpot alumni hockey games to support music and art therapy programs at the Campus School. In its first three years, the group raised upwards of $60,000.
Colton also designed a "buddy" program that matched the school's 45 pupils with BC student volunteers for classroom activities and special projects.
But Colton said the pupils of the Campus School have given her more than she has ever given them. "They have taught me to appreciate what I have, to keep the small stuff small, and to make the most of every moment I have," she said.
"One of my favorite times to go over to the Campus School is during finals, when you're all stressed out," she said. "You walk in and you see everyone has so much energy and enthusiasm. It's such a positive place. The day looks brighter when you walk out of the Campus School."
Colton has been influenced in her work by her own learning disability, which she describes as "a mild visual-processing deficit" that makes reading comprehension difficult.
"It really puts me at an advantage, letting me see how a student might be having difficulties," said Colton.
"She has seen her learning disability as a challenge rather than an excuse," noted Lambert.
Return to May 28 menu
Return to Chronicle home page