PEMBROKE – Finances have been tight around the Boyd home.
Jennifer Boyd, a full-time education student at UNC Pembroke, and her three small children live off her husband’s income.
“My grandfather passed away in October,” Jennifer said. “He had been helping us out.”
Relief is on the way.
And it couldn’t have come at a better time as Boyd is preparing to begin her student internship with Whiteville City Schools in August.
Boyd was ecstatic to learn she was one of two recipients of the 2016 Hattie M. Strong Foundation Scholarship. Boyd and fellow education major, Timothy Bledsole, were awarded $5,000 to be used in their final year of study at UNCP.
“I’m super thankful!” Boyd said. “This is going to make it so much easier for me to continue and get through my internship. This has been a blessing.”
Boyd and Bledsole were recognized during the School of Education’s Pinning Ceremony. Robin Tanner, executive director of the Hattie M. Strong Foundation, was in attendance.
The Hattie M. Strong Scholars program is aimed at college students enrolled in teacher-training programs at 24 colleges and universities located primarily on the East Coast. To date, the program has awarded $525,000 to 105 students.
The program began offering scholarships in 2010. This is UNCP’s second year participating in the Virginia-based program, according to Karen Granger, program coordinator for the AIG Add-On Licensure at UNC Pembroke.
“The School of Education is incredibly grateful to Ms. Tanner for visiting our campus,” Granger said. “We are also thankful for the generosity of the Hattie M. Strong Foundation for its support for our students.”
The 2015 recipients were Megan Mauterer of Lumberton and Katie Dietrick of New York. The program is administered through the School of Education.
Boyd, who lives in Nakina, is studying special education after she was inspired by her aunt who taught exceptional children in Whiteville for 30 years.
“I have always admired her patience with her students,” Boyd said.
Boyd, who is on track to graduate in December, said she is “grateful to the donors” of the Hattie M. Strong Scholarship.
“I don’t know how I would have made it without this scholarship,” she said.
Award recipients must earn a 3.0 GPA in the two semesters prior to their final year and demonstrate a financial need.
Bledsole, a Lumberton resident, is an aspiring high school history teacher. He will begin his internship with the Public Schools of Robeson County in January.
“I was excited when I learned that I had received the scholarship,” said Bledsole, a 2013 graduate of Purnell Swett High.
He said he looks forward to gaining classroom and hands-on experience during his internship.
“I want to learn more about classroom management and how to develop lesson plans,” Bledsole said. “This internship will also allow me to get familiar with different students’ needs and gain an understanding on different teaching concepts and learning skills.”
Bledsole was also awarded the Mary Elizabeth Jones Brayboy Scholarship and the John Green Memorial Scholarship.
The Hattie M. Strong Scholarship is a great recruitment tool for the School of Education, Granger said.
“This is also a great way to recognize our outstanding students as they begin their internships,” Granger said. “A majority of our students work so there is a lot of anxiety of giving up a job while they are in school. This scholarship does allow them a little flexibility.”
Mark Locklear is public communications specialist with The University of North Carolina at Pembroke