EASLEY — For more than a decade, Kay Hiott has been the leader of a program at Easley High School designed to create future educators.
“Teacher Cadets” is a program sponsored by the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement (CERRA), a non-profit organization dedicated to helping South Carolina meet its teacher recruitment, retention, and advancement needs.
“I have had the privilege of teaching this program for 12 years, and many of my former cadets are now teachers, with one presently serving on the CERRA advisory board, Hiott said.
CERRA was created in 1985 and the “Teacher Cadets” program followed the next year.
“These are High School seniors interested in the teaching profession either by becoming an educator or an advocate for education,” Hiott said.
By taking part in this program, seniors will not only learn what it means to be an educator, they will also be earning college credits.
“We are partners with Anderson University. Ray Kimbrell from the school comes into our classrooms on several occasions and assigns and grades four major projects in accordance with our curriculum. Upon completion of these assignments, the students receive three transferable credit hours,” Hiott said.
Each participating student has his or her own story for choosing traching a career of choice.
“I had a teacher at East End Elementary that inspired me. She made me want to become an educator. She was more than a teacher. She was a counselor and is a friend to this day,” said High School senior, Anna Kate Moody.
Anna is planning to attend Anderson University.
Casey Parks has aspirations of attending Lander University and says that teaching is in her family.
“My mother was a teacher and I feel that it is my calling,” Parks said.
Mrs. Hiott has also served as inspiration.
“I moved around a lot during middle school, and when I came here, Mrs. Hiott helped me in many different ways and made realize that we can all help people,” said High School senior, Taylor Davis.
Taylor is planning to attend the College of Charleston.
Jacob Bradford is deciding between North Greenville and Furman University and says that it was his music teacher that first inspired him to become an educator.
“He welcomed me into a new world of challenges and showed me what it means to be a teacher,” Bradford said.