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Obama Scholar overcomes many hurdles to reach ASU finish line

Incoming freshman Aquarie Doyle found inspiration in her kindergarten classroom — now she's set to become a teacher herself

aquarie doyle

August 22, 2018

Incoming Arizona State University freshman Aquarie Doyle readily admits she didn’t have an idyllic childhood.

The product of a broken home, her parents were both teens when she was born. Doyle’s father ended up leaving for good when she was 7, and Aquarie was raised by her single mother and other assorted relatives.

Doyle found refuge at school and comfort in her kindergarten teacher, Mary McClain of Phoenix’s Esperanza Elementary School.

“She loved her job, and it showed,” said Doyle, who is a first-generation college student. “She would come into class every day with a smile on her face. It put a light in my life when I was very young. She made me feel like a part of her family. I looked at her and I said, ‘I want to teach, too.’”

Doyle said she dove headfirst into her academics, graduating from Barry Goldwater High School in Phoenix last May with a 3.8 GPA. Those grades helped her earn an ASU Academic Achievement scholarship, and her finances qualified her for the President Barack Obama Scholars Program, a need-based program to help rising leaders with college tuition. She will use the money from those two entities to attend ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College.

“I was set on what I wanted to be at an early age, and ASU was my first and only choice for college,” Doyle said. “People at the Teachers College are very kind, and those are the types of people I want to be around.”

Doyle recently spoke to ASU Now about her next adventure in life, which will take place on ASU’s West Campus.

Question: Why did you choose ASU?

Answer: I chose ASU because I felt a strong connection towards being at any campus. I knew that my future was going to be at ASU since I was in seventh grade. I like the idea that not only will I learn how to become a teacher, but I will receive mentorship as well. When I went to the fall semester orientation in my senior year, I became friendly with the staff. Everybody at ASU was nice, kind and respectful. I felt like these are people I want to learn from and work with. 

Q: What drew you to your major?

A: I knew I was going to be a teacher as soon as I met my kindergarten teacher Mary McClain. … She was different than all the other teachers, had a big joy of being in the classroom every day, knowing there were poorly behaved children in her class. I saw something in her that I knew I could become, and I have and will. She was firm but I appreciated her so much in a way that I’ve never appreciated any other teacher, even through middle and high school. She gave me courage when others frowned on the idea of me becoming a teacher. I hope to teach in the same classroom she taught me and help teach the type of children that might be going through a hard time. I know I can help those who might be in an unfortunate situation. I want to give them the same motivation Mary McClain gave to me.

Q: What are you most excited to experience your first semester?

A: I can’t wait to meet my professors and get to know them because they’re teachers, and I will be a teacher. It will give me another reference of who I can become when I enter the classroom. I am most excited about knowing how college will be for me as an experience and how much I can juggle. A new space is something I always like to conquer; I like a good challenge!

Q: What do you like to brag about to friends about ASU?

A: I would not say I would brag because that would be inappropriate for me to behave (that way) no matter how much I love and appreciate ASU. However, I do love to talk to others about how great of an experience I had at just a tour with ASU, at any campus. You will realize how easy it is to talk to anyone, on campus or off campus, with a fast answer or result.

Q: What is your favorite TV show right now?

A: I am definitely a “Supernatural” fan. I love a long-lasting, committable thriller.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish during your college years?

A: Well, I definitely hope I earn a degree out of all of this. I hope to meet new people, experience struggles and work hard for that degree I know I will achieve.

Q: What is one interesting fact about yourself that only my friends know?

A: That many people tried to talk me out of going into teaching as a profession. They felt I was crazy for wanting a job that historically has low pay, wanting to teach small children with no parental support. I really didn’t care what they said because it’s not their life. I know what I want to be, and I have a calling and passion for teaching. I love small children, and it runs in my blood.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem in our world, what would you chose?

A: If I actually received this money in real life, I’d contribute it to some sort of counseling program for school-age children. That’s a vital time in children’s lives when they need the most help and need to understand what to do and if there’s an outlet for them.   

Q: Predictions on the final score for this year’s Territorial Cup game?

A: I predict ASU 28-24, no particular rhyme or reason, just a prediction. Go Sun Devils!

Top photo: Incoming student Aquarie Doyle found school to be a sanctuary from a turbulent life at home. Now she is taking a path so she can help similar children. The freshman is heading to the West campus and Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College with Obama and ASU Academic Achievement scholarships. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

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