First Posted: 3/29/2009
With the release of the 2009 NC Teaching Fellows recipients, three area high school students are closer to realizing their dreams of becoming teachers.
Lauren Chamblin and Maggie Davis, both students at East Surry High School, and Maggie McKee, a student at Mount Airy High School, were all named as recipients. Two students in the Surry County school system and four students at Mount Airy High School were named to the alternates list with a chance of entering the program if others decline.
For Chamblin, the decision to accept the Teaching Fellows scholarship was an easy one. She was placed at Appalachian State University, her first choice, and is excited to take her place in the entering freshman class.
I am definitely accepting, she said. Appalachian is such a good education school. It is probably one of the hardest ones to get in with the Teaching Fellows. Im very thankful I got placed there.
Chamblin hopes to major in elementary education with a concentration in math. She has interned in two classrooms this year in second grade and third grade and enjoyed it immensely.
She is one person who has known what she wanted to do since she was a child in second grade.
Ive wanted to teach since elementary school. I had a really great teacher in second grade. I did waver a bit, but I always went back to teaching, she said. My internships have been great.
She thinks that being part of the Teaching Fellows program will give her an advantage over other students who are just majoring in education.
I know the moneys good, but the program is amazing. You get so many experiences, she said of Teaching Fellows. You get to take extra classes and do other activities. You get a lot of time volunteering at local elementary schools. A normal student wont get to participate in any of that.
McKee has not yet made her final decision. Her first choice, Catawba College, planned to have its first cohort of Teaching Fellows this fall and she was excited to be a part of that. However, the school did not have enough student interest to have the program and McKee was placed at her second choice, UNC-Charlotte.
Im not sure Im going to take it. I was really excited I got it, she said. Im thinking about going to Catawba anyways to play tennis.
The college offers another scholarship for students entering the teaching program at the school, but it does not cover all of the expenses the way a Teaching Fellows scholarship would.
McKee wants to teach higher level high school math and was inspired to teach by her mother, who has been a teacher for more than 30 years.
Math has always been really easy for me, she said. Ive grown up around (teaching). It comes easy to me. I know what it takes.
McKee decided to pursue the spot at Catawba after they recruited her to play tennis there and she visited the campus.
I went to the campus and fell in love with it. Its the right size for me, she said. The education department offers a lot of retreats and they have a good program for it. And its close to home.
The Teaching Fellows Program has been in existence since 1986 and is funded by the North Carolina legislature. It provides scholarships to 500 North Carolina high school students interested in pursuing a career as a teacher. The program provides $6,500 per year for four years in exchange for the student promising to teach at a North Carolina public school or government school for four years after graduation.
In order to be chosen as a recipient, nominees must go through a lengthy process beginning at their school. They began by filling out an application and then having mock interviews with teachers and the principal who encouraged them and helped them provide better answers to questions. From there, they went on to have interviews with people in the community who ranked the students and sent the information to the state.
The state released a list of regional finalists and those students went for an interview at Appalachian State University.
It was a 25-minute interview. It was really stressful and a lot depended on it, said McKee.
Of those students, 500 were chosen as recipients and a list of alternates was also released with each alternate numbered.
To have six from a small, rural 1-A high school, that says a lot about our students and the education they receive here, said Sandy George, principal of Mount Airy High School, of the students from the school chosen to advance to the regional finals. We have given them great opportunities that they can turn down if they want. We want them to be able to make choices.
I am extremely proud of the achievements of the 2009 Teaching Fellows recipients. We strive to encourage and support students who express interest in becoming teachers. The many achievements exhibited by these recipients speak highly of their commitment to education, said Sonia Dickerson, teacher quality coordinator for Surry County Schools.
The alternates for the 2009 Teaching Fellows Program are, Kristina Benton from East Surry High School, Carley Redding from Surry Central High School and Reece Barbour, Jennifer Collins, Lauren Glass and Kathryne Welborn from Mount Airy High School.
Davis was unavailable for interview at the time of publication.
Contact Morgan Wall at [email protected] or 719-1929.