05/30/04 — Graduation -- Dreaming of a class of their own

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Graduation -- Dreaming of a class of their own

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on May 30, 2004 9:16 AM

Rosewood High School has the distinction this year of having the most N.C. Teaching Fellows of any high school in the county.

Considering there were 109 in the graduating class, having five recipients of the $26,000 scholarship is an impressive number.

Eight seniors at the school applied this year for the prestigious scholarship. A total of 400 students from across the state are selected annually, with the main stipulation that upon graduation from college, the students commit to teaching for four years in North Carolina public schools.

Troy Smith, 18, wound up turning down the scholarship, although he still plans to be a teacher. Because he plans to attend a private college where the scholarship could not be applied, he said, it paved the way for another potential teacher to benefit from the award.

"It basically came down to what weighed on my heart," he said.

The son of Steve and JoAnn Smith of Goldsboro plans to attend Guilford College and major in history and education. His older brother, Josh, graduated from Guilford and will teach math at Rosewood in the fall.

His mother has been an educator for nearly 30 years and teaches art at Rosewood. Troy said he would also like to teach at the high school level.

"I have been around high school my entire life," he said. "I love it; I don't ever want to leave it and figure this is the best way."

He said he wouldn't mind coming back to his alma mater, but if another opportunity presents itself, he would be open to it. The most important thing, he says, is being able to affect lives.

"Just the fact that you can help out even one child as a teacher, to me that's worth it," he said.

Jonathan Green, son of John and Marsha Green, is 18 years old and plans to attend the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in the fall. His mother is a longtime English teacher and former "Teacher of the Year" at Rosewood.

"I was always interested in English and have always been a student of hers," he said. But it wasn't until recently that he decided to become a teacher.

His older sister Caroline also aspires to be a teacher. She is a junior at North Carolina State University, attending on a county teaching-fellow scholarship.

Jonathan said he is uncertain where he will wind up teaching, but believes he would first like to venture elsewhere to get a different perspective and experience.

Nikki Strawn, 18, said she knew she wanted to be a teacher since she was a child.

"I like working with younger kids," she said. "I think it would be fun to interact with them and stay young at heart."

She said she has not decided on a major, but would also like to coach. She will attend UNC-Wilmington, where her two older sisters are already students.

The daughter of Sam and Libby Strawn said she believes the teaching profession will suit her well, especially when she has a family of her own one day.

Stacy Ellis, 17, the daughter of Kirk and Robin Ellis of Pikeville, will also attend UNC-W. She said she is undecided about a major because she has a wide range of interests, but is excited about having a guaranteed job upon graduation from college.

"It's also something there's a need for," she said.

Stacy said she talked with her parents and a few teachers before making up her mind. She is interested in teaching high school and also doing some coaching.

"Wherever the need is greatest is where I'd teach," she said.

She is the granddaughter of a retired teacher, Clara Hines, formerly a principal at Nahunta School and an educator at Rosewood Elementary School.

Regina Everett, 18, is the daughter of Mike and Daphne Everett of Goldsboro and will attend N.C. State. She said she was motivated to go into education when she learned about the growing need for teachers, but also follows what is becoming a family tradition.

Her mother is a teaching assistant at Rosewood Elementary and brother Michael, 23, graduated from N.C. State last year and now teaches computer at Wayne Community College.

The fact that there is so much that goes into teaching only served to make it more appealing.

"I had a couple of teachers that really stood out," she said. "They had an impact on where I have been, where I am going to go."

Likewise, she feels there is much to gain from the profession.

"Everything you put into teaching, you get back," she said.