All One: Current Student Ayra Kelly

“Your life’s work is to stand alone and light the way for others,” a venerable man once told University of Lethbridge Faculty of Education student Ayra Kelly. “But the word alone comes from two words: all one. It doesn’t mean you stand by yourself in the world. It means you stand grounded and balanced, and lead by example.”

     Ayra Kelly has been living with the words all one since she was a teenager – they resonate deeply with her. 

     “When I was a teenager, I became my younger sister’s caregiver,” she says. “It was necessary for me to lead by example with the hopes of becoming a role model for my sister.”

     The girls were not alone. The people of Irricana, Alberta, live by the all one philosophy, as well, and rallied around them. “We were welcomed into people’s homes and made to feel like family,” says Kelly. “While I worked three jobs to help pay bills, they looked out for us. Our lives could have taken much different paths if it weren’t for the people in our community.”

     “Their kindness inspired me to never stop doing what I can to enrich others’ lives.” It also reinforced her lifelong dream of becoming a teacher.

     Kelly carried this conviction to the University of Lethbridge, where she incorporated it into both volunteerism and studies. “I want to make Irricana proud,” she says. “I’m working hard, inspired by the incredible professors and teachers I’ve met.” 

     Kelly feels fortunate to be in an education program that encourages reflective practice. “Reflection lies at the centre of all we do,” she says. “I’m always asking myself how I’m doing and how I can improve. I’ve learned it’s okay to ‘fail forward’ and I’m thankful for that. It’s been beneficial for me and for the students I’ve taught so far.”

    “Wherever life takes me, teaching and education will continue to inspire curiosity – lighting the way down new paths.”

Girl Guides of Canada:
Big Brothers Big Sisters:
Rotary International:
Me to We:
Boys and Girls Club:

Written by Elizabeth McLachlan
Photo by Kristen Shima


For more information contact:

Darcy Tamayose

Communications Officer

Faculty of Education

(403) 332-4550

Turcotte Hall - T1H 417