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North student earns teaching scholarship

April 4, 2018
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

One of the things the Lee County school system is having a hard time of is finding is teachers because there are just not enough of them.

The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools is trying to change that, and on Monday, the foundation surprised two Lee County students with a Golden Futures four-year scholarship to an area school in exchange for returning upon graduation to teach in the school system.

North Fort Myers High School student Macey Earhart was surprised in her classroom last Monday as foundation members, family and administration came to give her the news that she would be a recipient of this scholarship.

Article Photos

Debbie, Macey and Shawn Earhart after Macey won her Golden Futures four-year scholarship Monday at North Fort Myers High School.

"I was shocked. I was waiting to hear back and I even called to ask if they had heard anything. They said it was another two weeks out," Earhart said. "Seeing all the people is shocking and exciting."

Earhart said she has been inspired by many teachers over the years and wanted to share that inspiration with her students.

"There are teachers who have made a big impact on my life and I would like to do that for other kids and help them live better lives in the community around them," Earhart said, who hopes to start in elementary school before moving to middle and high school to teach history.

"I want to teach here. I love all the teachers, the atmosphere and the administration. It would be great to come back here. North has a lot of students who come back here as teacher and it's easy to tell why," Earhart said.

Debbie Earhart, Macey's mom, said she is grateful for the opportunity to do this and more amazed she was able to keep it a secret for two weeks.

"It was the first time I had heard from a principal from any school. I thought she was in trouble but when she told me, the tears started flowing," mom said. "I hope she can become a great part of the community because of it."

Debbie Diggs, North principal, said there could not have been a better pick than Earhart.

"We're so honored that she will be the first-ever recipient of the Golden Futures Scholarship. She is a great investment and we're expecting amazing things from her," Diggs said. "I love that she'll be coming back to teach here when she finishes her degree."

Florida Southwestern State College is partnering with the foundation and sponsors to help bring more home-grown teachers into the school system.

It is the fourth year the foundation has done this, but it's the first time two scholarships have been given out, said Marshall T. Bower, executive director of the foundation, who added the Golden Futures program originated by a group of Golden Apple recipients who won the award in 2013.

"It is a group of Golden Apple teachers who wanted to give back, so we're doing a grow-your-own project to produce our own teachers and finding them within the district," Bower said. "This scholarship will keep on giving to this community. It's difficult to recruit and retain teachers."

Alana Newell of Cape Coral High School was the other recipient.



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