You’ve seen the Signing Day ceremonies… high school athletes, surrounded by their families and coaches, don a ball cap from their future school and sign a Letter of Intent to play for that college or university team. Well, sports don’t have to be involved for Signing Day to be an exciting occasion!
A crowd of about 150 students, parents, and staff members celebrated a group of future teachers at the third annual Teacher Signing Day on May 7. The 36 seniors signed their own Letter of Intent at the event, formalizing their intention to pursue a career in teaching. The seniors learned what to expect during college and the student teaching experience from guest speakers, and GCPS’ Teacher of the Year (TOTY) Heidi Campbell of Parkview HS and TOTY level winners Kelly Specht of Riverside ES and Lindsey Saa of Couch MS shared advice and insights during a Q&A session.
During a networking reception before the program, participants met School of Education representatives from 16 colleges and universities in Georgia and out-of-state. Curriculum Office staff members answered questions and offered tips for students interested in teaching their subject. Allied organizations that support teachers— like the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) and Bright from the Start’s Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL)— also were on hand.
The event closed with scholarship presentations, prize raffles, and a presentation by CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks who discussed the great need for teachers and encouraged the teachers-to-be to return to their roots and become GCPS teachers when they graduate in 2023.
“Our students enjoyed themselves so much,” said Dr. Bisa Lewis, who teaches career and technical education courses in the Education Pathway at Berkmar HS. “A couple of [my students] shared that this event increased their interest in becoming an educator, now more than ever!”
Scholarships awarded to future educators
A number of seniors with plans to teach after college were honored with special scholarships. Congratulations!
J. Alvin Wilbanks Educator Scholarship: A one-time award of $2,000 co-sponsored by Peach State Federal Credit Union and the GCPS Foundation.
Taylor Rose Benton of Brookwood HS
Julie Ann Mooney of Grayson HS
Alton C. Crews Educator Scholarship: A one-time award of $1,000 sponsored by the Foundation.
Abbey Noelle Turner of Collins Hill HS
Callie Mae Anton of Mill Creek HS
Danielle Carlene Clark of South Gwinnett HS and Maxwell HS of Technology
Grace Ann Howard of Brookwood HS and Maxwell HS of Technology
Yackelin Perez of Berkmar HS
Teaching as a Profession Scholarship: A one-time award of $1,000 sponsored by Georgia United Credit Union.
Sarah Ann Parker of Archer HS