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EKU Alumna Hannah Chaney Faced the Ultimate Teaching Challenge

EKU Alumna and Middle School Teacher Hannah Chaney

After teaching middle school social studies and English/language arts for five years, Hannah Chaney took on the biggest teaching and learning challenge of her life. Her son Kase was born with several severe medical conditions requiring around-the-clock care. She resigned from her position as a middle school teacher to take care of her son. Doctors predicted that he would never be able to walk or talk and that he would probably have brain damage. 

Chaney relied on her faith and the lessons she learned as a teacher. “I took Kase home and I applied my teaching skills. I made "I can" statements every day and I set goals for him even as a baby. Our first goal was to roll over, and the next goal was to hold a toy. These were all things doctors thought he might never achieve. But he did! When he couldn't speak, I taught him to communicate with puzzles and pictures,” she said.  

Now, five years later, Kase is speaking, reading, and defying every odd. Her father said, "Hannah, I'm proud of you for teaching in a school, but I'm just as proud of you for teaching my grandson. If all of your education was for this one time in your life- it was worth it!" 

Chaney returned to the middle school classroom in 2019 and is now teaching 8th-grade social studies at Northern Middle School in Pulaski County. She is also an extended school service tutor, supervises student events such as dances, and attends her students’ extracurricular events.  

Chaney is especially proud of a class she taught recently named "Grave Tales.” Her 8th​​​-grade students collaborated with the local historical society and cemetery director to take and upload photographs of tombstones and obituaries missing from the Find A Grave website.  “Students received thank you notes from all over the world for providing historical information online many had never been able to locate before. This was an absolutely amazing experience,” said Chaney. 

Chaney was first inspired to be a teacher by her grandmother, Linda Walls, who was a Sunday school and vacation Bible school teacher. Chaney was the first person in her family to earn a college degree, but she didn’t stop learning with just one degree. She is a triple Colonel, first earning a general studies degree in 2008. She was selected as the commencement speaker that year.  In 2010, she earned her bachelor’s degree in middle grades education and her Master of Arts in Education degree in 2017, both from EKU. 

“I was inspired by so many wonderful EKU professors. Dr. Rodney White, Dr. Dorie Combs, Dr. April Blakely, Dr. Ginni Fair, Dr. Tom Appleton, Dr. Delinda Dent, and Dr. Cynthia Resor are just a few who challenged me to do my best,” she said.  “When I first started at EKU’s Danville Campus, I walked onto campus and had no clue what to do next but wonderful support people like Cindy Peck helped me figure it out.” 

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Published on April 22, 2021

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