Each year, the Appalachian Community of Education Scholars (ACES) have the opportunity to spend time with the Chancellor to discuss the opportunities provided by their unique learning community. The ACES program was created by the James Center to continue the legacy of the Appalachian State Teaching Fellows and these students thrive as future teachers because of enriching leadership and service experiences provided each year.
Freshman ACES are welcomed to Appalachian during a Freshman Retreat and participate in activities that foster team-building and networking development. As sophomores, the ACES take a trip to Washington, DC to visit schools in an inner city setting and explore the nation’s capital. Junior Service Day is planned for Junior ACES to realize the importance of service by giving back to surrounding communities. This year they will serving Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools. Finally, as seniors, the ACES travel to Ocracoke Island on the Outer Banks to the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) for professional development.
At the beginning of spring semester 2016, Chancellor Everts, Provost Krueger, and Randy Edwards noticed the exceptional qualities of the ACES students during the meet and greet hosted at the Chancellor’s home. The university leaders were impressed with the students’ passion for education and strong leadership qualities, that the program was granted an extra $50,000 for scholarships and enrichment possibilities. The James Center Staff and Scholarship Coordinator, Rebekah Saylors, encouraged all ACES to apply for $5,000 one-time scholarship. The application required the students to write reflective essays about the teaching profession and how the ACES program had impacted their preparation to become an educator at Appalachian State. The applications were anonymously sent to Teaching Fellows Alumni who had agreed to read and rank the applicants. Other stakeholders, including university admissions counselors, read the applications and helped make the decision. Each student who had applied was deserving of the scholarship recognition, so it was a challenging task to only select nine recipients:
Ashley Brown, Senior, Elementary Ed
Kelly Dancy, Junior, Secondary English Ed
Mary-Helen Helms, Sophomore/Senior, Middle Grades
Sarah Isenhour, Junior, Elementary Ed
Sarah Kennelly, Sophomore, Art Ed
Jessica Krpejs, Junior, Elementary Ed
Judson MacDonald, Senior, Spanish K-12
Madison Vaughn, Junior, Elementary Ed
Cristina Vazquez, Sophomore, Special Ed
The James Center remains appreciative of the special recognition of the ACES program and will continue to celebrate the successes of these remarkable future teachers.