HAMLET – It was an atmosphere of giving at the Cole Auditorium Tuesday morning, as Richmond Community College made a major announcement that will benefit future teachers.
“The idea of shaping young minds is a phenomenal opportunity, it’s why I want to become a teacher,” says Kylie Howell, junior and Teacher Cadet at Richmond Senior High School.
Howell, among fellow cadets, sat in attendance at the Cole Auditorium as Dr. Dale McInnis, president of Richmond Community College, announced a new scholarship that will be available for future teachers starting next year.
Hal Shuler, associate vice president of development for Richmond Community College, greeted an assortment of attendees that included city officials, board members, associates from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, RCC faculty, Richmond County Commissioner Kenneth Robinette, his wife Claudia, and Richmond County Schools superintendent Dr. Cindy Goodman.
All waited patiently with anticipation of the big announcement, before Shuler turned it over to McInnis.
“I’m excited to welcome you all here today because it is an important day in the history of our college,” McInnis said, building up suspense before the big announcement.
“It is my pride and pleasure to make the announcement you all been waiting for, The Lois Smith Memorial Scholarship for Future Teachers,” he added.
“Thanks to the generosity and insight of the Robinette family,” McInnis continued. “They will be providing five $2,000 scholarships every year to students who have chosen to be on the pathway to become a teacher.”
The scholarship will be available to selected students who are enrolled in Richmond Community College’s education program for a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. Through this partnership with UNCP, students are able to become a teacher without leaving Richmond County.
Members of RSHS Teacher Cadet program attended Tuesday’s event, and were joined by Superintendent Dr. Cindy Goodman (center, white blouse). Many hope to apply for the scholarships.
However, the scholarship will also be available to those future teachers who wish to spend their first two years at RCC and then transfer to a four-year public university in North Carolina. It is also available for those who are looking to change professions and go into the field of teaching.
The Richmond Community College Foundation, through the sponsorship of Kenneth and Claudia Robinette, established the Lois Smith Memorial Scholarship for Future Teachers to honor a great teacher and to inspire future teachers of Richmond County.
Lois Smith started college at Flora MacDonald College, but took time off to raise her family. Years later, she enrolled at UNCP, commuting daily, and received a Bachelor of Arts in Social Studies. She taught Guided Studies at RCC, from 1978 until retirement in 1991. She had a passion for teaching, education and learning and understood the importance and value of each for herself and others.
Members of the Smith family, who were in attendance, were recognized and applauded.
Claudia Robinette, the chair of the Board of Trustees for Richmond Community College, spoke about the importance of teaching and the legacy of Lois Smith.
“She loved working here at RCC all those years, and she loved interacting with her students and she loved teaching,” Robinette said. “Kenneth and I thought what better way to honor her and her legacy than to offer a scholarship to provide others with the opportunity to continue their education and become a teacher and impact the lives of others like she did.”
Howell, who is currently in the dual enrollment program through RCC, plans to finish her first two years at RCC and then transfer to Appalachian State University, has a passion for teaching and wishes to become an exceptional children teacher for Richmond County Schools upon graduation.
“I have family members who are special needs and I would love the opportunity to become an advocate for them and other students in the special needs community,” Howell said. “I can do that through teaching.”
She continued by expressing gratitude for the scholarship and the teaching profession.
“I respect my teachers and I want to be like them one day,” Howell noted. “I think it is so generous of the Robinette family to provide an opportunity like this, and I plan to take full advantage and apply as soon as possible.”
“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” – Henry Adams