Two Connecticut students this year have been awarded Ethnically Diverse Educator Scholarships from the Connecticut Education Foundation to help them pursue teaching careers. They will receive $2,000 for every year of undergraduate study leading to their Connecticut teaching credentials.
“We know how important it is for all children to see themselves reflected in their teachers, and we’re committed to diversifying our profession to ensure that happens,” says CEF President and CEA Vice President Joslyn DeLancey. “We are so pleased to award opportunities to students of color who are interested in becoming professional educators, and we look forward to seeing them lead their own classrooms.”
Amariah Armstrong, (above right), a 2022 graduate of Stratford High School, will be studying at UConn’s Storrs campus this fall.
She was inspired to enter the teaching profession by her mother, an elementary school teacher who gave her opportunities to help with various class and curricular projects.
“My interest in education comes from the amazing role models I had who demonstrated what great teaching was,” Armstrong says. “They focused on child development and creating safe and fun environments. When I become a teacher, I plan to focus on developing safe and inviting classrooms for students and their families. I’ve helped many teachers over the years set up their classrooms, preparing every detail for students to enjoy and learn from. The joy on their faces on the first day of school is something that my mom and her colleagues always discussed.”
Importantly, she adds, “All of my teachers made a great impact on me, but it was a few African American teachers who really influenced my decision to pursue education. All students should be able to experience learning from leaders who look like them, and I hope to be that teacher leader for students.”
Cristina Contreras, (above left) a 2022 graduate of Stamford’s Westhill High School, plans to pursue a career as an elementary school teacher because, in her words, “That’s where teachers first impacted me as a student.”
An incoming freshman at Eastern Connecticut State University, she explains, “You know that saying, ‘It takes a village to raise a child’? Well, I believe it takes a community of dedicated teachers to change students’ lives in a classroom. I struggled in school, but the amazing teachers I could count on made me believe I was capable of so much more than I thought I was. My educators gave me the tools and mental strength to continue my education and be proud of myself for everything I worked hard to achieve. I want to become an educator to make the same difference for my future students.”
She adds, “Teachers truly don’t get credit for what they do, but I have witnessed that teachers are the foundation of this country. They put their time and heart into planning lessons, and they never give up ensuring that every student understands the material and that all students believe they are capable.”
Do you know a deserving high school senior who plans to pursue a teaching career? Learn more about scholarship opportunities at cea.org/cef.