AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – A local elementary school teacher graduates from Augusta University today. Her students have played a huge role in her big day.

Jasmine Coleman says it all started when she was just an elementary school student herself- her aunt owned a daycare and, when it closed, she gave Jasmine all of her school supplies. 

Everything just clicked.

Jasmine says teaching elementary school was all she ever wanted to do. She began her journey by playing “teacher” as a kid, with her younger brother playing her “student”.

“I had so many teachers that impacted me, and that made it stick even more because I wanted to be that teacher for a student,” said Coleman.

Jasmine now teaches 3rd grade at Copeland Elementary. She graduates Friday from Augusta University with her Bachelor of Science in Education and a major in Elementary Education. 

Her students, who she says are one of her biggest motivations, decorated her graduation dress. 

“The best one I like is SpongeBob, and Squidward, and him and Patrick,” said Zanya Clinkscale, one of Ms. Coleman’s students, as she referenced a SpongeBob drawing she helped put on the dress.

“I [drew] a flower because I do like flowers, and I think Ms. Coleman likes flowers, too,” said student Anastasia Gerhardt.

“I love Miss Coleman because she’s there when I need it when I need it most and the kind of teacher that I would always want to have around,” said student Devin McKinnly Taylor.

Jasmine was chosen by the AU student body to speak on behalf of her graduating class. 

On stage, she read a letter from one of her students.

“This is my reason,” said Coleman. “This is what keeps me going even on those days when I feel like I am in over my head. It may be a challenge initially, but I want you to remember that at the end of your maze your ‘why’  awaits you.”

Her students watched her from their classroom and cheered her as she received her degree.

Jasmine will pursue her Masters of Education in Instruction from Augusta University and continue teaching at Copeland Elementary School. She tells us she hopes to stay involved with her alma mater for years to come.