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.