UNF offers full scholarships to future educators

Victoria Reed

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UNF is offering scholarships that will help historically underrepresented students who want to pursue careers in education. UNF plans to do this through the Holmes scholarship which was created in hopes of changing the lack of diversity among teachers in Northeast Florida.

JaQuez Dock is one of the nine students who received the scholarship. He plans on giving back to his community by becoming a teacher.

“Having the same color person in the classroom creates a better opportunity of connecting,” said Dock.

According to a study by Johns Hopkins University, “Having at least one black teacher in third through fifth grades reduced a black student’s probability of dropping out of school by 29 percent.”

Ahmad Levy, another scholarship recipient, says he was inspired to become a teacher his freshman year of high school while volunteering with elementary kids.

“I realized I had a passion for teaching kids,” said Levy.

Dock and Levy both said they’re committed to teaching in Northeast Florida, so they can help to build up their local communities.  

So, why is this important?

“There’s this ideology that you can’t become what you don’t see,” said Rudy Jamison, assistant director of The Center for Urban Education at UNF.

Jamison says that if it wasn’t for teachers who understood him and his reality, he wouldn’t be where he is today. He thinks it’s extremely important for students to see teachers they can relate to in the classroom.

According to Dr. Christopher Janson, the director of The Center for Urban Education, the students in this program will have the opportunity to be transformed by their experience at UNF, but the students will also transform UNF into a more “diverse and gracious community.”

“It’s an opportunity as a university to demonstrate our understanding that our community is rich with all kinds of gifts,” said Janson.

Both Jamison and Janson view this program as an inspiration for those who want to be like Rutledge Pearson, a Jacksonville native, who was an educator, civil rights leader and human rights activist.

The program begins June 23.  

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