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Teaching Fellow adds second scholarship 'out of the blue'

It took Skylar Harrison about six months to apply for, to interview for and to win a scholarship to N.C. State University as a North Carolina Teaching Fellow. It took her a week to win a second scholarship to State.

 Female high school senior holds certificate while posing between two men in suits.The North Lenoir High School senior and aspiring special education teacher was recently named a winner of NCSU’s Transformational Scholarship, valued at $10,000 a year for four years. In its second year, the scholarship goes to a handful of incoming freshmen who plan to teach in eastern North Carolina after graduating from N.C. State’s College of Education.

Candidates for the scholarship are invited to apply.

“I knew nothing about the scholarship until I was invited,” Skylar said in an interview this week. “This came completely out of the blue.”
The invitation came via email at the end of April. Skylar accepted and began working on her application, including its essays, the same day, she said. On May 3, she interviewed via Zoom. On May 4, she received an email announcing her as a Transformational Scholarship winner.

“I had no idea I was going to receive the news that soon,” Skylar said. “I was very excited. I was in shock at first. I opened the email and said, this can’t be right. Literally, the day before was my interview.”

Winners of the 2023 scholarship will enter and move through NCSU as a cohort, according to Elizabeth Thompson, an assistant principal at North Lenoir. Their education focuses on a specific area in each of the four years: becoming an educator, looking at communities in context, decisions and change in education and becoming a leader.

“The program has built-in experiences to help them prepare to be extraordinary teachers and leaders in the eastern North Carolina region,” Thompson said. “They are going to stay together with a cluster of advisors at N.C. State and are given the opportunity for extra experiences, like study abroad.”

Twenty students comprised the scholarship’s first cohort.

“It’s a program, not just a scholarship,” Skylar said. “You get a lot of support within the program and you’re supporting other people while gaining support and working together with other future educators.”

In late March, Skylar won a place among 132 students – 75 of whom are high school seniors – in the 2023 class of North Carolina Teaching Fellows.
The Teaching Fellows program is a competitive, merit-based forgivable loan program providing tuition assistance of up to $8,250 per year for qualified students committed to teaching special education, science, technology, engineering or math in a North Carolina public school. 

Skylar intends to teach special education, enriching a family connection – her aunt works in LCPS’s Exceptional Children’s Department – and building on experiences she’s had this year as a volunteer in a special education classroom at North Lenoir.

Photo caption:

North Lenoir High School senior Skylar Harrison, already chosen as a North Carolina Teaching Fellow when she was honored by the Lenoir County Board of Education, was named the winner of a Transformational Scholarship to N.C. State University earlier this month. Recognizing Skylar at the school board meeting are board chair Bruce Hill, left, and LCPS Superintendent Brent Williams.