FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - August 18, 2003
Catawba Valley Community College Kicks Off
"Homegrown Teaching Scholars Program"
The first 12 individuals selected to participate in Catawba Valley Community College's Homegrown Teaching Scholars Program recently participated in a kick-off event at the college.
In an effort to develop more teachers for Alexander County due to a shortage of teaching graduates, CVCC partnered with Alexander County Schools to create the Homegrown Teaching Scholars Program (HGTS).
Selected to participate in the HGTS are Kathy Campbell of Stony Point, Nancy Jolly of Stony Point, Tonia Hertzler of Hickory, Linda McLain of Hiddenite, Annette Belanger of Taylorsville, Mark Ford of Hiddenite, Anthony Walker of Taylorsville, Melanie Petriella of Hiddenite, Amy Cothren of Taylorsville, Misty Jolly of Taylorsville, Natasha Beckner of Taylorsville and Debra Stevenson of Hiddenite.
"We have an eclectic, enthusiastic mix of individuals in our first group of students," said Jack Hoke, superintendent of Alexander County Schools. "These folks range in background from manufacturing workers to teaching assistants who dreamed of becoming teachers. With the collective creativity of the folks at CVCC and our school system, we're going to do everything we can to make sure these people get the education they want and achieve their dream."
Only residents or former residents of Alexander County are eligible to participate in the HGTS. Participants begin classes at CVCC and will take junior and senior level classes to earn a teaching degree without leaving the area. HGTS students can maintain their homes, jobs and stay close to family while earning their teaching degree. The program's ultimate goal is to close the floodgate of teachers leaving Alexander County.
Each year, Alexander County loses many teachers. In fact, 70 new teachers were hired this school year. Eighty-seven percent of Alexander County teachers who resigned between 2000 and 2002 were not Alexander County natives. After analyzing its staff, the school system also learned that teachers with the highest longevity rates are Alexander County natives.
Claudia Ward-Eller, project director for the Homegrown Teaching Scholars program, and other program administrators will also help students locate financial assistance, as well as provide enrichment activities and encouragement throughout the complete four-year educational journey. In return, scholarship recipients must agree to teach in Alexander County Schools at least four of seven years after graduating.
The HGTS program is funded in part by a Golden LEAF Foundation grant.
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