UNCP School of Education rewards academics


PEMBROKE – Crystal Wood’s family dynamic was turned upside down during her first year at UNC Pembroke.

Her husband, an Army soldier stationed at Fort Bragg, was ordered to move to Fort Hood, Texas. Wood and his daughter stayed behind to complete his degree in music education. The move caused emotional and financial strain as Wood was forced to postpone her student education and take a second job.

“When I was informed that I had been selected as the recipient of the Hattie M. Strong Fellowship, a tremendous weight was immediately taken off my shoulders,” said Wood, now a senior.

Wood is one of four 2021 UNCP Hattie M. Strong Fellows. The others are Sayward Locklear, Thyra Love and Victoria Norton. They each received $ 5,000 to use in their final year of study. The Strong Scholars program is for students enrolled in teacher training programs at selected partner institutions.

Love, an elder to Cameron, is studying for a degree in elementary education and teaching her students at Long Hill Elementary School. She plans to continue her studies and one day become a school principal.

“Receiving this award is a game changer,” Love said. “This award is not only a blessing in my life, but will also be a blessing in the lives of my future students. Being able to change lives through education doesn’t always have to be through teaching, but through acts of kindness, and with this scholarship I will be able to do so. “

Locklear, a graduate student from Pembroke, is completing an internship at Piney Grove Elementary School.

“This scholarship can provide so many tools to use in my classroom and supplies that are not provided by the school system. Most teachers spend a considerable portion of their salary on their students, whether it’s school supplies or personal supplies, ”Locklear said.

Locklear previously served for seven years as a teaching assistant at Prospect Elementary School. She will graduate in December with a Master of Arts in Teaching and plans to enroll in a doctoral program.

Norton, a Gibson elder, is a student teacher at South Johnston Elementary School. She plans to use her scholarship earnings to invest in resources for her future classroom.

“Students deserve manipulatives and all the educational resources to help them develop their full potential in their classroom. The Hattie M. Strong scholarship adds a sense of relief to be financially ready to begin my next journey as an educator. Education is my passion, and it is my priority to provide real learning experiences to foster the education of our future.

In December, she will graduate with a diploma in elementary education with a concentration in biology. She plans to pursue a career in the classroom while continuing her education at the UNCP Graduate School and eventually earning a PhD.

For more information on the Strong Scholars program, visit their website.

Mark Locklear is the Public Communication Specialist for the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

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