Langley teacher Cynthia McCarthy awarded TWU’s Board of Governors Gold Medal

Some people have to find their passion, but Cynthia McCarthy knew from the start her future was in teaching. What she didn’t know is, how she would be rewarded by Trinity Western University for her work and achievements in her profession.

Like many small children, Cynthia dreamed of being a teacher. It was a passion from the start. While growing up, her father taught at Abbotsford Christian School and education with a Christian ethos became foundational for her.

Cynthia did Kindergarten to Grade 9 in French Immersion in the public school system in Alberta and completed Grades 10 to 12 at Abbotsford Christian School when her family moved to B.C.  This dual experience sparked a passion for foreign languages and a conviction about the value of education from a Christian world view.

After starting at the University of Alberta, she transferred to TWU for second year, and completed a Bachelor of Arts degree at TWU in 1997, followed by a bachelor’s degree in education in 1998 through a partnership between TWU and Simon Fraser University.

She served as a Residence Advisor, lived in on-campus senior student housing and went on tour with a TWU vocal group. Cynthia lived the consummate TWU undergraduate experience. She immersed herself in campus life, forged lifelong friendship, plus she met her husband Tim McCarthy at TWU and they were married in 1997.

“My year at U of A showed me that, for me, it is important to be rooted in a community that matches my worldview. Coming to Trinity Western was a breath of fresh air. I loved being in classes where professors knew you, and really sought to know you well,” says Cynthia.

Upon graduation, she landed her dream job as a French teacher back at Abbotsford Christian School. Within a couple of short years, Cynthia and Tim had one child and another on the way, and they were struggling to strike the right balance of work and a growing family. 

“With mixed feelings, I put down the chalk and stepped out of the classroom.  I ended up being hired by our church as worship coordinator where I served for nine years. During that time, we also added three more children to our growing family. While I felt like my calling to teach was put on hold, and maybe even disappearing, God deepened my love for the church and for discipleship and servant leadership,” says Cynthia.

In 2010, when her youngest children (twins) were heading to kindergarten and the oldest was starting grade 6, this busy mother of five heard the call of the classroom once again. “I sensed the nudge to return to the classroom, this time to white boards and projectors,” says Cynthia.  

A position was posted at her kids' school, Langley Christian School, and she applied with the encouragement and prayers of many.  She is now in her ninth-year teaching high school French at Langley Christian School. In addition to teaching, Cynthia has become a leader in the LCS community. She serves as the weekly Chapel Coordinator, a mentor for the school’s student leaders, and organizes exchanges for French students. Previously she also served as the school’s Student Activities Coordinator. Today, she also continues to be involved in church leadership alongside her husband.  

During her undergraduate studies, Cynthia took a course in Leadership with Dr. Don Page. It planted a seed and continued to grow in her a desire to cultivate her own leadership skills and encourage leadership in others around her. Over the years, she kept her eye on the TWU graduate program in Leadership.

“I was unsure whether I would be able to manage graduate courses while teaching full-time, and having five kids in the thick of school and their activities.  However, I took one course, which served as a litmus test to see if I could manage studies and my other responsibilities.  I didn't drown! So, with considerable moral and practical support from my husband, kids, extended family and my school administration, I took the plunge,” says Cynthia.  

She returned to the classroom in spring 2016 to take TWU’s Master of Arts in Educational Leadership program part-time while working full-time at LCS. This fall Cynthia graduated with a Masters of Arts in Educational Leadership from TWU, and earned the Board of Governor’s Gold Medal award as the graduate with the highest marks in the graduating class. She is the first Masters of Arts in Educational Leadership student to win the Gold Medal.

“Receiving this award is quite humbling. I rubbed shoulders with so many hard-working people. I was so encouraged by my professors who showed us it was possible to do well and succeed. They sought to sharpen all the students and allow them to see the potential we have and to reach for it. They encourage us to aim high,” says Cynthia.

Cynthia’s hard-work and dedication caught the attention of those around her.

“As one of Cyndi's professors, I'd say without hesitation that she is a worthy recipient of the Board of Governors' Award. In her accomplishments as a student and, I expect, in her service to the broader community following graduation, she makes us all proud to be associated with TWU,” says Dr. Ray Klapwyk, instructor for the TWU Master of Arts in Educational Leadership program.

TWU and the Board of Governors congratulates Cynthia McCarthy on her achievement.

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