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CVCC Implements Homegrown Teaching Scholars Program
The Taylorsville Times June 11, 2003

Have you always wanted to become a teacher but don’t want to give up home, family and friends in Alexander County to get your education? Catawba Valley Community college may have the solution to your dilemma.

Beginning this fall, CVCC will offer a unique opportunity to qualified Alexander County residents to complete a four-year teaching degree. The Homegrown Teaching Scholars Program is designed to assist students in locating financial assistance, as well as provide enrichment activities and encouragement throughout the complete four-year educational journey.

Funded in part by a GoldenLEAF Foundation grant, the program offers local access to the junior and senior level glasses for a teaching degree. This enables students to maintain their homes, jobs and to stay close to family while finishing their education.

Each year, Alexander County Schools lose teachers. The large majority of those teachers are not Alexander County natives, according to Dr. Barry Redmond, associate superintendent with Alexander County Schools. He believes the Homegrown Teaching Scholars Program concept is right on target to retain more teachers.

“We’re competing with the demand for teachers state wide.” Dr. Redmond said. “There are simply not enough teachers to go around. If we can recruit local people with family ties and loyalty to the community, we have a much better chance of retaining those teachers.”

“You look at the most stable teaching staffs in our system, such as Sugar Loaf Elementary, and you’ll find that most of those teachers were students there themselves,” he points out. “The proof is in the pudding.”

Jack Hoke, superintendent of Alexander county schools, says the Homegrown Teaching Scholars program could have a very positive impact on the Alexander County School system.

“I am excited about the opportunities this program will afford our students and adult population,” he said. “This program shows the importance of having Catawba Valley Community College serve or county in the new facility provided by the Alexander County Commissioners.”

Only 12 spots are available in the program, says CVCC Program coordinator Claudia Ward-Eller. In order to qualify, individuals must be a resident or former resident of Alexander County, a U.S. citizen, and legal resident of North Carolina. They must also have a high school diploma or GED and have an unweighted grade point average of 3.o.

In return, scholarship recipients must agree to teach in Alexander County Schools at least four of seven years after graduation.

Teacher assistants, and adults who have completed some or no college courses, are encouraged to apply. Those who have a college degree but are interested in changing careers may also be eligible.

The application deadline is June 13, and there is no cost to apply. Applications can be picked up at the CVCC Alexander Center or the Alexander County Schools Central Office.

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