Mark Hadaya 2013
Middle childhood education
As a student at Beavercreek (Ohio) High School, Mark Hadaya was looking for a few things in a college. He says he found them, and more, at Bluffton. “I wanted to find a school I felt comfortable with,” offering majors he was considering and also an opportunity to continue playing baseball, recalls Hadaya, now a Bluffton senior.
Interested in education, sport management and broadcasting/journalism as possible majors, he decided on education but wasn't sure what grade level he would want to teach. But at new student orientation in summer 2009, Dr. George Metz, a professor and chair of education, told him about opportunities that would be available in middle childhood education, helping convince Hadaya to follow that path.
He is now preparing to student-teach this fall in fifth grade at nearby Cory-Rawson Middle School, and to graduate next May with concentrations in social studies and language arts and certification to teach grades 4-9.
While open to any possibilities after graduation, Hadaya says his preference would probably be teaching in grades 6-8. He got a chance to do that briefly in May during his Bluffton cross-cultural experience in Chicago. He was observing a public-school teacher of seventh and eighth graders who let Hadaya handle language arts and social studies instruction for a few days. “That was a really cool opportunity,” he says, adding that the young teenagers “were a lot of fun. It’s a good age.”
Hadaya is also considering coaching baseball after wrapping up his four-year playing career at Bluffton next spring.
“We’re such a tight-knit group,” he says about his teammates. “They’re like family to me, like a bunch of brothers.” And, coached by James Grandey—who “has been great,” Hadaya says—“the program’s on the rise,” the senior pitcher adds. “I think we’re on a good track.”
“I’d love to stay in the game somehow,” he says, and coaching is “something I’ve always wanted to do.”
At Bluffton, Hadaya has been involved outside the classroom and off the field as well. After two years as a resident adviser, first in Neufeld Hall and last year in Bren-Dell Hall, he is this year’s hall director in Bren-Dell. His experience in residence life has helped him get to know many more people, notes Hadaya, a C. Henry Smith Scholar who has also been active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
He has been struck not only by the opportunities afforded on campus but also, from his first year, by its atmosphere. “Everybody at the school—from athletics to the academic side of things and the admissions staff—was really caring,” he remembers. In addition, since coming from a high school larger than Bluffton, “I’ve really loved the community aspect of Bluffton,” he says. “You can really feel it.”