Friday, December 13, 2013


~Guest Blog Post by Eliza Chandler, CERRA Program Facilitator

Region Five has been alive and well this semester, collaborating on group projects, participating in service learning, and planning for the future. I’ve immensely enjoyed my time in our Teacher Cadet classrooms and have most enjoyed my “Beginnings” project.

Personally, I’m a beginnings girl – I enjoy that the way we live our lives often gives us a chance to begin again, to redirect, to start onto a new path. Like most, I embrace the beginning of a new year. But I also celebrate the start of a new month or even a new week. As a momma, I embrace the vigor my daughter brings to each new thing she learns and tackles. Her first grade mind bubbles every day and reminds me to see every challenge as an opportunity to learn and, often, to begin again.

As a teacher, I enjoyed opening a new school year – such energy when the halls are filled again and notebooks are new and pencils sharp. I liked introducing a new novel, a new unit of study and encouraged my students to embrace each new activity with renewed creativity and a little “start over.” We all know how important a chance to begin again can be.

While visiting sites and experiencing college days this fall, I decided to do a little “Beginnings” project.  I asked cadets all over Region Five to share their advice for first grades just entering the world of education. Some shared interview-style; others wrote their advice down on index cards. I’ve gathered quite a bit of advice ranging from the humorous to the insightful, the silly to the thought-provoking.

What an adventure!

And here’s the best part; here is why I started this project: the advice I’ve gathered is truly not just for first graders. Almost every single piece of advice the seniors and juniors have given me while thinking about the happy first graders just starting out is applicable to their lives as well. What a glorious thing to be reminded – we are never too old, too grown, or too stuck to embrace a new beginning! We do not have to be who we are or do what we do on any tomorrow to come.

So as you approach exams and college applications, financial aid and scholarships; as you wait for the mail or email or phone call; as you endure tryouts and auditions; as you plan for the prom and celebrate birthdays, remember that you are in charge of your beginnings. You get a say in all of your tomorrows. Listen to your heart and the advice you gave to a younger crowd and remember that new beginnings are everywhere.

Advice to First Graders from the Teacher Cadets of Region Five

Listen to your teachers – they really do know a lot.
Have fun in school; it’s fun to learn even when it’s hard.
Put your mind to work and even if things don’t make sense today, they soon will.
Enjoy school – one day it will be over.
Don’t give up, especially on yourself.
Try new things.
Do your best and don’t compare yourself to everyone else. You are you, not them.
Be your number one fan.
Smile – it’s the easiest way to make friends.
Be confident as you try new things.   You’ll find new things you like to do and stuff you’re good
Share your crayons and paper; others will share with you, too.
Allow change in your life and accept differences. You never know where it will lead and who
   you’ll meet.
Be kind. No one likes mean people.
Don’t be slack – in school or any part of life. Do what you say you’ll do and demand the same of
Love who you are and remember to be your own friend first.
Learn to tell time so you can always be early not late.
Ask grown-ups for help – and keep asking until someone helps you.
Tie your shoes in double knots so you don’t trip.
Just because someone does something better than you doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough.
It’s ok to cry but try not to wet your pants.
Don’t take things you love to school or you might lose them.
Don’t lie; you’ll usually get caught.
You don’t have to be good at everything now; you have lots of time to grow.
It’s ok if your socks don’t match; people don’t really notice.
Wash your hands. A lot.
Believe – in yourself and your friends, in unicorns and fairies, in what makes you happy. Just

West Ashley High Teacher Cadets

Ashley Ridge High Teacher Cadets

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Red Carpet Affair: Pre-Collegiate Network Celebrated at Annual Fall Renewal Conference

The 2013 Pre-Collegiate Fall Renewal Conference, recently held at the Landmark Resort in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina was indeed a "Red Carpet Affair," and did NOT disappoint! This annual event provided the opportunity for ProTeam teachers, Teacher Cadet instructors, and College Partners to learn, share, and collaborate in order to enhance their pre-collegiate programs. South Carolina's 2014 Teacher of the Year, Darleen Sutton, keynoted the event, and 20 different concurrent sessions and 13 Roundtable sessions were offered. To check out highlights of the conference, please visit the following webpage, specifically created for the conference:

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

My Journey As a Program Facilitator and a Former Teacher Cadet

~Guest Blog Post by Tracie Sweet, CERRA Program Facilitator

As I visit Teacher Cadet classes in the Savannah River Region and the Upstate of South Carolina, I am reminded of my own Teacher Cadet experience in 1992-93 at Westside High School in Anderson.  I was actually recruited by other students who were considering taking the course.  At that time in my life, the thought of becoming a teacher couldn’t have been further from my mind.  I dreamed of becoming a broadcast journalist.  Many of my teachers had actually encouraged this career path, saying that I had a natural desire to know what was going on in the lives of those around me and then share that knowledge with others.  I think that was their polite way of saying that I was nosy and liked to gossip.  When several of my classmates asked me to consider participating in the Teacher Cadet class, my immediate response was, “I’m not going to become a teacher.”  They told me that it didn’t matter, and the class was going to be fun.  So I applied, and my life was changed forever!  Who knew that 20 years later I would have the honor of sharing my story with other Teacher Cadets all across the Upstate and Savannah River Regions of South Carolina?

Over the past month, I’ve had an opportunity to share a story about one of my former first grade students, Thomas, who was in my first grade class during my third year of teaching.  Thomas was one of those students who made me want to quit my job and become a Wal-Mart greeter.  Teacher Cadets learned how Thomas changed my life that year.  Thanks to Thomas, I didn’t become a Wal-Mart greeter.  I remained in that first grade classroom for seven more years, getting to know my learners as individuals and impacting many more lives.  
I have also had the pleasure of sharing college financial information with Teacher Cadets, instructors, guidance counselors, and principals throughout the Upstate and Savannah River Region.  I’ve met other educators whose lives were changed as a result of the Teacher Cadet class.  Ms. Alison Brown, the guidance counselor at Williston-Elko High School would not even think about becoming a teacher in 1991 at Barnwell High School.  Ms. Brown wanted to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a pharmacist.  However, after becoming a Teacher Cadet in her junior year, Ms. Brown decided that she wanted to make a difference in the lives of others by becoming an educator.  Now, Ms. Brown makes a difference in the lives of students every day by helping them make important decisions about their futures.
Teacher Cadet instructors and their Cadets are also busy making plans to attend their upcoming College Days throughout South Carolina.  This is a very exciting day for students as they begin thinking about this next journey of their lives.  College Day gives Teacher Cadets an opportunity to tour their partnering college’s campus, participate in engaging activities, and network with other Cadets.

My journey as a Program Facilitator allows me the unique opportunity to connect with many educators in a variety of unique situations.  I must say that my favorite part of my job is staring into the eyes of young people who have their whole lives ahead of them.  From Greenville to Allendale, I’m inspired by our future. Many of our Cadets know without a shadow of a doubt that they want to become teachers.  Some of them are still undecided about their future.  Many of those undecided will choose teaching as a career as a result of the Teacher Cadet class.  I am so thankful that some of my classmates encouraged me to become a Teacher Cadet.  It changed my life forever.  

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Former Teacher Cadet To Make International Impact

~Guest Blog Post by Arthur Pinckney, CERRA Program Facilitator

Antavius Jones graduated from Voorhees in May 2013 with a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics. He was a former Teacher Cadet in 2008-2009 at Denmark-Olar High School with Ms. Cammy Bernstel as his instructor.

This fall, Jones, a native of Denmark, S.C., will be traveling to China to teach English to students between the ages of six and 15 through the Ameson Education and Cultural Exchange Foundation, a nonprofit and non-governmental organization in Washington, D.C. that is committed to the promotion and implementation of educational exchanges in China and abroad.

Jones will teach for one academic year to public primary or secondary schools in the greater metropolitan areas of Shanghai, Beijing, Nanjing, Tianjin and the provinces of Guangdong, Anhui, Hebei and Fujian.

While at Voorhees, Jones held various leadership roles and participated in various organizations including the Student Government Association, Student Support Services Program, Alpha Kappa Mu Honor Society, Math and Computer Science Club, Ernest Everett Just Science Club, Hometown Heroes, NAACP, and Louis Stokes Carolina Alliance for Minority Participation Program.

Additionally, Jones traveled to New Mexico for the Summer Community College for Research Experience (SCCORE) Internship Program, where he did research in the Mechanical Engineering Department at New Mexico State University. This internship gave him the opportunity to present his research at one of the most prestigious conferences in the nation, the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) in San Jose, Calif.

Hats off to Antavius, another successful Teacher Cadet!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Sound Off, Pre-Collegiate Network!

Well, it's here...the official kick-off to the 2013-2014 academic school year! Welcome back, administrators, teachers, students and families! We, at CERRA, are absolutely thrilled about the journeys we will embark upon with pre-collegiate programs this year. We are equally excited to introduce you to our new CERRA staff member, Darleen Sutton, the 2014 SC Teacher of the Year. (See photo below.) Also, please join me in welcoming 10 new ProTeam instructors and 32 new Teacher Cadet instructors to our network!

Did you know that our pre-collegiate programs have Facebook pages? Yes, we do! If you are a FB user, please “like” us and encourage everyone to do so, too! To connect with our ProTeam Program, you can find us at "proteamsc" or at the following link:

To connect with our Teacher Cadet Program, you can find us at "teachercadets" or at the following link: Want to win a Teacher Cadet Prize Package worth over $75.00? Click on the following link to read more about our promotion, “Drive to 1,000 Likes:” Let's see who will win the grand prize! "Like us," and you will be entered into the drawing! You can also follow us on Twitter (@teachercadets) or download the Teacher Cadet app in iTunes or Google Play. 

Frequent updates and new developments about our pre-collegiate programs will be delivered via social media, so connect with us TODAY!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Gilbert Middle ProTeam Teacher Finalist for Prestigious Award

~Guest Blog Post by Arthur Pinckney, CERRA Program Facilitator

Congratulations to Daphne DuBose, ProTeam Teacher at Gilbert Middle School. Daphne was named the 2013 SC Association of Student Councils’ Middle Level Advisor of the Year!  She has also been named the Region 3 (SC, NC, VA, TN, KY, Washington, DC) Middle Level Advisor of the Year and is one of six finalists for the Warren E. Shull National Middle Level Advisor of the Year.  The winner will be announced June 23 in Las Vegas.  Best of luck to Daphne!!!!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

2013 Upstate Teacher Cadet Conference

~Guest Blog Post by Tracie Sweet, CERRA Program Facilitator

Over 200 students and educators were seen tweeting their way through this year’s Upstate Teacher Cadet Conference hosted by Limestone College on March 11th.  Students came dressed to “Surf the Seas of Possibilities on the Technology Wave,” and learn about the future of teaching in a technological age. Teacher Cadets, teachers, and principals were encouraged to invite other students in their school to participate in the conference in an effort to recruit talented young people into the teaching profession.  Participants included students in grades 9-12 from 10 upstate high schools.  Many of the participants indicated that they were sure that they wanted to become teachers.  Some were still undecided, and a there were some who said they did not want to become teachers during the morning activities.  However, as a result of the conference, hearts and minds were changed.  One student tweeted, “This morning I raised my hand to say I didn’t want to become a teacher, but now I am thinking about it.”

Read more about the conference, view a picture slideshow, and view the conference booklet at

Be on the lookout for information regarding next year's Upstate Teacher Cadet conference date and location.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Lowcountry Teacher Cadet Conference is Huge Success!

~Guest Blog Post by Eliza Chandler, CERRA Program Facilitator

On Saturday, February 2, a lively group of forty-eight Teacher Cadets and their instructors gathered at Ashley Ridge High School for our first ever Lowcountry Teacher Cadet Conference. They came together to celebrate being Teacher Cadets and to learn from our invited presenters, fellow teachers, community members, and CERRA staff. Breakout sessions ranged from financial aid tips to working with autistic students to guidance for the Teaching Fellows interviews to finding their "true colors."  Several Teaching Fellows from the College of Charleston participated in a panel discussion about life in college, and the day wrapped up with door prizes.

The feedback we received was tremendous, and we look forward to an even bigger conference next year!

A tremendous thank you goes out to our Lowcountry College Partners for their contributions to this successful day. I also wish to thank Ashley Ridge High School for opening their doors to us!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Pilot Semester of ProTeam Proves a Success

The pilot semester of ProTeam proved to be successful and well-received by students and their families, teachers, and administrators at Alice Drive and Furman Middle Schools in the Sumter area. Check out the article, Pilot Semester of ProTeam Proves a Success, written by Jade Anderson that appeared in The Item.

For additional information about CERRA's ProTeam Program, please visit or call us at CERRA at 1-800-476-2387.