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Local students earn Teaching Fellows scholarships

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

Nine area high school seniors are among the 2008 recipients of the North Carolina Teaching Fellows scholarships, according to a news release.

Brunswick County high school seniors receiving the scholarships are: Brittney Renee Knotts, Michael Sebastian Ruitto and Emily Suzanne Watson of North Brunswick High School; Jenna Leander Baldiga and Jessica Kristine Cartrette of South Brunswick High School; and Laura Gennette Carter, Erin Chelsea Dingess, Brittany Michelle Greene and Heather Marie Nelson of West Brunswick High School.

Each Teaching Fellow receives a $26,000 scholarship loan from the state, payable in $6,500 annual increments. The full loan is forgiven after the fellow has completed four years of teaching in North Carolina public schools or U.S. government schools.

In addition, all fellows take part in unique academic and summer enrichment programs during their college careers.

The program, created by the General Assembly in 1986, upon the recommendation of the Public School Forum of North Carolina, remains one of the top teacher recruiting programs in the nation.

“The primary purpose of the program is to attract talented high school seniors to become public school teachers,” said John D. Denning, chair of the Teaching Fellows Commission.

“The 17 constituent institutions in the program offer unparalleled teacher education experiences-experiences which are producing high quality educators and leaders for the state’s public schools.”

This year, 2,756 high school seniors competed for the 528 scholarships. Recipients rank in the upper 8 percent of their senior class and have an average SAT score of 1173.

Among the recipients, 36 percent are males and 24 percent are minorities.

“Each Teaching Fellows class continues to meet the high expectations of the program,” said Jo Ann Norris, associate executive director for the Public School Forum and administrator of the Teaching Fellows Program. “I believe that these bright young people, like their peers who are now teaching in our public schools, will make a real difference when they graduate and take their places in North Carolina classrooms.”

Since 1987, 9,244 graduating high school seniors have been awarded the scholarship. There are 3,370 Teaching Fellows teaching in 97 of the state’s 100 counties.