"I've tutored and worked with kids a lot, so entering the teaching profession looked like the next logical step," said Dennis, a Bellingham native. "I really enjoy doing it. It feels like I'm giving something back to the community."
Dennis will now be able to realize her objective. She and fellow LSOE freshman Melissa Gridley are recipients of Massachusetts Tomorrow's Teachers Scholarships, a program aimed at encouraging academically talented students to put their skills to work in public school classrooms.
Established by the state legislature in 1999, the program offers four-year scholarships to Bay State high school students in the top 25 percent of their class who enroll in a Massachusetts college or university degree program leading to teacher certification. Scholarship winners agree to teach in Massachusetts public schools for four years upon graduation, especially in subject areas or geographical regions and school districts where there is a documented teacher shortage.
Melissa Gridley (left) and Tracy Dennis are recipients of Massachusetts Tomorrow's Teachers Scholarships. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)
"We are very fortunate to have students like Tracy and Melissa at our school, and we congratulate them on their success," said LSOE Assistant Dean for Students and Outreach John Cawthorne. "The significance of these scholarship awards is even greater for the teaching profession in Massachusetts. It means we can keep more of our good teachers in the state, and that these graduates will not be saddled with big loans. These scholarships help make the playing field a little more even for teachers starting out."
While Gridley, a native of Arlington, is not as firm about her career plans as her BC co-winner, she said the scholarship "helps a lot" in providing her with more options for the future than she might have had otherwise.
Dennis says she is delighted at the prospect of staying in her home state once she earns her teaching degree. "I had no plans to move, so this works out very well," she said. "I feel I've been blessed in many ways, and I'm happy to do what I can someplace where I'm needed."
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