Future teachers get financial aid

LIHUE — When Teacher Credential candidates enter their final semester as student teachers at a local public high school, they are not paid, and cannot work outside jobs because of the commitment to class.

Growing Our Own Teachers on Kauai, a local nonprofit, helps answer the need to support these candidates by announcing the recipients of two $4,000 grants that will be paid in monthly installments of $1,000 each.

Ciara Delos Rios-Caires and Jaylin Schwarz are both student teachers at the Elsie Wilcox Elementary School Grade 1 where they are working with mentors Lianne Cua and Felicia Villalobos.

“By receiving this financial assistance, I am able to worry less on finances and focus more on being the best teacher at school, and the best mother at home because children deserve the very best in life,” Delos Rios-Caires said.

Nancy Kanna, president of Growing Our Own Teachers on Kauai, said the awards help the student teachers in their final semester because many teaching candidates need help completing the final stage of their education program.

“This financial assistance means so much to me,” Schwarz said. “I can relieve my cost of living stress and put more effort towards my teaching career.”

Both student teachers expect to complete the Elementary Education Program through the University of Hawaii at Manoa later this spring.

“Both Ciara and Jaylin are fulfilling their student teaching semester at Wilcox Elementary classrooms,” Kanna Said. “Both candidates are highly recommended by their teachers and peers, and are completely dedicated to their future teaching careers. We are proud to be a small part of their success.”

Growing Our Own Teachers on Kauai was started following reports that the state of Hawaii is suffering an increasing shortage of qualified teachers. To address this need, Growing Our Own Teachers on Kauai invites aspiring teachers on Kauai to apply for its financial grant programs.

Kanna said Growing Our Own Teachers on Kauai relies on donations and fundraising events to provide these financial awards.

Information: www.growingkauaiteachers.org.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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