Erin, Kelly and Shannon Grace


Springfield, VA
Majors: Elementary Education in the College Education and Human Development
Campus Involvement:
Board members of the Student Virginia Education Association (SVEA) and Project Sprout advocates

For the Grace triplets – Erin, Kelly, and Shannon – choosing Radford University was the ultimate family decision. They knew they wanted to stay close together and they knew they wanted to become teachers – an interest that sprouted in all of them because their mother, who passed away seven years ago, taught high school history.

“When my sisters and I were younger, my mom would give us her left over school workbooks and grade books,” Shannon said. “We would take turns pretending to be the teacher while the others were students. As we got older, we got to see more of what my mom did as an educator.  Sometimes she would let us put checks on her students' homework or grade a quiz using an answer key, but when our mom brought us with her to 'Bring Your Kid to Work Day,' my sisters and I saw how much fun our mom had in the classroom. I think that was when we all decided that we wanted to teach, just like her.”

Radford University became the triplets’ ideal choice after their older sister attended the university when they were in high school. When it was time for them to start their college search, they did their research and learned about the university’s outstanding elementary education program.

“During our senior year in high school, we worked at a preschool where we had the opportunity to read aloud to the children and work with them in an academic atmosphere,” Shannon said. “This was another moment when we knew positively that we wanted to work with children.” 

Erin added, “I was a struggling student and I had some great teachers that really gave me the confidence to work hard and succeed. I know how much those teachers meant to me and I want to be that person for my students.”

Kelly not only loved the program and the fact that she could be with her sisters, but she said, “When I came to visit my older sister, I loved it from the start. I love the atmosphere and the people that attend Radford.”

Although they have been together for nearly all their lives, each young woman has a different plan for her future after commencement.

Shannon plans to move to Australia where her older brother currently lives.

“I will be on my own for a year. I plan on meeting new people, learning life skills, and volunteering in a few elementary schools,” she said.

Meanwhile, Erin plans to get a teaching job and eventually return to school to get a master’s degree, and Kelly plans to explore Europe for six weeks before moving to New Zealand.

“I want to explore the world before I settle down and begin my career,” Kelly said.

Although the three of them are about to set out on individual paths, they are united in the belief that Radford University has prepared them for the future.