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ConVal graduate places first at Educators Rising national conference

  • Recent ConVal graduate Leah Stone placed first in the job interview category at the Educators Rising National Conference in Dallas in June. Stone was joined at the national conference with ConVal Careers in Education Teacher Sarah Grossi. Courtesy photo—

  • Recent ConVal graduate Leah Stone placed first in the job interview category at the Educators Rising National Conference in Dallas in June. Courtesy photo—

  • The ConVal Educators Rising chapter sent a group, Tracie Dailey, teacher Sarah Grossi, Leah Stone and Molly Reed to the national conference in Dallas in June. Stone finished first in the job interview category, while Dailey and Reed competed in Pre-K Children's Literature. Courtesy photo—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 7/10/2019 5:48:11 PM

Leah Stone feels pretty confident when the time comes, she’ll be able to get a job – or at least the recent ConVal graduate knows she can excel when it comes to an interview.

At the Educators Rising National Conference in Dallas, Texas, held June 22-25, Stone took home first place in the job interview category, after placing second in the state competition held in March.

“I was definitely surprised,” Stone said. “It’s a prestigious thing, being top in the country.”

It was at the state level where Stone picked up some tips for how she could perform better in her interview, provide more context to her answers and add more qualifications to her resume.

“They gave her feedback,” said Sarah Grossi, the Careers in Education teacher at ConVal, of the state judges. “And Leah took that feedback and practiced for nationals.”

Prior to the competition, Stone had to provide a resume and cover letter, which she worked to improve after states, but it was her ability to answer whatever the judges threw at her during the 25-minute closed-door interview for a “prospective” paraprofessional position that set her apart.

“I could answer every question because I had the experience,” Stone said.

There were questions about her struggles both in and out of the classroom, experiences working with children in a one-on-one setting and her experience with diversity. And with each one, Stone gained more confidence and felt more comfortable with her answers.

Stone is heading to Fitchburg State in the fall and will major in elementary education. During her time at ConVal, she participated in two separate Extended Learning Opportunity programs that really opened her eyes to the impact an educator can have.

As a junior, she worked with Sandy Aborn in her second grade class at Greenfield Elementary and that helped cement her decision that education was the career for her.

“She showed me you can make a difference in children’s lives in a school setting,” Stone said of Aborn.

This past year, she worked in special education at Antrim Elementary and it only furthered her belief of the impact teachers can have.

With all that experience under her belt, along with taking Child Growth Development, along with Careers in Education I and II that included trips to Monadnock Community Early Learning Center, Stone has many qualifications that could land her a paraprofessional job next year. Now she has the interviewing skills to match it.

Since this was Stone’s first year competing in Educators Rising (also ConVal’s) she wasn’t quite sure what to expect when she stepped into the interview room at states. But that experience helped prepare her for nationals and it showed.

“Now I feel really confident going into a real job interview,” Stone said.

Stone chose to go into elementary education because “(the kids are) so fun and they just love to learn.” And she decided to go to Fitchburg State because of the opportunity to go into a more diverse environment and the school gets students into a classroom setting from the very first semester.

“She’s such a hard-working, dedicated student,” Grossi said. “She’s also a reflective student. She takes feedback and works to improve herself. It’s a quality you don’t see in a lot of students.”

At the national conference, Stone participated in a number of workshops, including one led by Scarlett Lewis, whose son Jesse died in the Sandy Hook Shooting entitled Choose Love in Education.

Stone hopes to start a collegiate chapter of Educators Rising at Fitchburg State and has been invited back to chaperone for Grossi in the future.

Molly Reed and Tracie Dailey, who will both be seniors at ConVal next year, also competed at the national conference in the Pre-K Children’s Literature category, creating a book called “Farm Animals Take on Hawaii”. The pair wrote the book in both English and Spanish.

For more on Educators Rising, visit For information about Grossi’s ConVal ATC program, visit a/


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