FZE senior chosen for ‘Grow Your Own’ program
The Fort Zumwalt School District is preparing another student for a future teaching career in the district. Katelyn Harting, a senior at East High School, is the latest student chosen to participate in the district’s Grow Your Own Teacher Program.
The Grow Your Own Teacher Program provides accepted students who are studying to teach in a high needs area — such as special education — with financial assistance. Funded by the Fort Zumwalt Public School Education Foundation, accepted students receive $3,000 for tuition each semester of college. In return those students are obligated to teach in that high needs area within the Fort Zumwalt School District for four years.
Some of the high needs areas include: special education, high school foreign language, industrial technology, physics, high school science and math, and English language learners.
Harting plans to attend Missouri State to study special education.
“Working with kids with special needs really tugged on my heart,” said Harting. “It really cemented my decision to work in special education.”
Harting was the only student out of 19 applicants selected for the GYOT program this year.
“What made Katie stand out is her leadership, her commitment to serving others, her strong academic background and her participation in a number of school groups, church groups and service activities,” said Patty Corum, deputy superintendent of personnel. “She is a leader at East High and she demonstrates what it takes to be one of those teachers who will work hard to help others, especially those with special needs.”
Currently, there are nine Grow Your Own Teachers, including Harting. The first two graduates of the program — Kelsie Kestler and Robin Aston — are teachers in the Fort Zumwalt School District this year. Both women graduated last year from Southeast Missouri State with a degree in special education. Kestler is a special education teacher at Rock Creek Elementary and Aston teaches special education at North High School.
The program will graduate another two students next year. Danielle Newton, a senior at Missouri State, is studying to be a science teacher. She will student teach at Fort Zumwalt South High School in the spring. Megan Stockton, a senior at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, is studying special education. She will student teach this spring at Fort Zumwalt South Middle School.
The other students in the program include Erin Herbig, a junior at Missouri State studying math; Alec Gerke, a sophomore at University of Missouri-Columbia studying math; Marissa Mullen, a sophomore at Missouri State studying math; and Emily Byers, freshman at Truman State University studying science.
In addition to providing students with forgivable loans, the program also pairs students up with mentors and provides leadership training twice a year.