Kristin CrouchStarting out, Kristin Crouch was not most people’s idea of an ordinary college student. After all, when she entered Sage as a first-year student, she was raising her two little girls.

“I decided on Sage exactly because I knew they would be understanding of my situation,” Kristin says. “And that’s what happened. The people there, right away, connected to me on a personal level. I never once regretted my decision.”

Today, Kristin teaches fifth grade in the Rensselaer City School District, and will soon be mentoring Sage students preparing to become teachers. She says her life has come to represent one of the significant lessons she learned in college. “At Sage, the focus is on service and connection to the community. They ask of you, who is the person you want to be? And then they start working on how they can help you get there.”

What Kristin also appreciated at Sage was the way the campus embraced diversity. “We were all encouraged to reach out to the larger world,” she says. “To seek out and listen to the voices that we might not have heard from before.”

That inspiration, Kristin says, has made her a better person, mother and teacher. “I know it made me a more open-minded educator.”

But most of all, Kristin says, “I felt appreciated at Sage. I was respected. I didn’t feel alone and judged. I was given dignity.”

And so, as she teaches her students, Kristin says, “I’m aware that I’m teaching children, not lessons. That’s something I learned at Sage, and I carry with me.”