Bryce Mitchell ’14, ’17 chose Shenandoah University because he wanted to go to a school that would make him feel comfortable, and Shenandoah did just that. “Shenandoah University and the city of Winchester will forever be my home away from home,” said Mitchell.
One of Mitchell’s fondest memories of the university is playing in the USA South Conference tournament with the men’s basketball team. The team was seeded seventh as they entered the tournament, but defeated the number two seed, North Carolina Wesleyan College, making it one of the biggest upsets in the conference that season.
Mitchell is also very grateful for Director of Advising and Assistant Dean for Student Success Salli Hamilton. As one of his professors during his undergraduate years, Hamilton always motivated him to never give up through the hard times. “I honestly don’t know if I would have finished college at all if it wasn’t for her,” said Mitchell. “It’s people like her that make Shenandoah the special place that it is!”
Mitchell is a health and physical education teacher at Larkspur Middle School and head boys’ basketball coach at Tallwood High School in Virginia Beach, Virginia, his alma mater. In his role as a teacher, he helps students find ways to live a healthy lifestyle through good nutrition and physical activities. As head boys’ basketball coach, he teaches student-athletes how to use basketball as a tool to be successful in life.
The most rewarding part of Mitchell’s career is his students and players coming back and telling him that the advice he gave them during their hardships helped them to keep pushing forward. “Knowing that I was able to help them get through their struggle is rewarding,” said Mitchell. “Providing motivation and strength to my kids is the best part of my job as a teacher and coach.”
Shenandoah provided Mitchell with a quality education, allowing him to feel prepared to enter any career field after graduation. He was able to have good classroom management and provide knowledge of his content area to his students because of the hands-on experience he had in his classes at the university.
He also believes that Shenandoah prepared him for the real world. “Yes, the education is great, but the lessons you learn on campus, the basketball court, the football field, track, etc. are just as important,” said Mitchell. “As a student-athlete at Shenandoah, I learned what it took to be disciplined. The university taught me to do what I was supposed to do, when I was supposed to do it, and how I was supposed to do it!”
Mitchell’s advice to students is: “If you want to become a teacher, definitely get a master’s degree as soon as possible. Having a master’s as a teacher provides you with lot more opportunity in this profession. Also, look for teaching jobs before graduating. Teachers are needed, especially in the state of Virginia. There is a job out there for you!”