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Life lesson no. 1: Realizing your potential is limitless

Growing up in Charlotte, Adora Reid was lucky to have teachers who mentored her outside the classroom. Now 20, she's working toward becoming a blessing to students of her own through the Teaching Fellows program at Queens.

"I take the ability for a teacher to influence someone else's life very seriously," she says. "I want to be a dependable role model, someone worthy of trusting to guide students in exploring their potential. I really feel that Queens is preparing me to become the best teacher I can possibly be."

The Cato School of Education at Queens prepares majors to become culturally competent educators who are prepared to be leaders in their schools. The curriculum includes study off-campus in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools from the freshman year on, providing a full four years of student teaching experience. Leadership training is offered in conjunction with the McColl School of Business at Queens.

Additionally, the Cato School offers up to 25 full-tuition Teaching Fellows scholarships annually. Fellows agree to teach for at least four years in one of North Carolina's public schools upon graduation.

As a youth, Reid was a star student. She worked hard, dedicating herself to working to her potential even when friends didn't. In high school she thought she'd become an interior designer. But then a teacher encouraged her to consider a career in education after watching her tutor a struggling peer in biology class.

"I just thought I was helping my friend not to fail, but more importantly it turned out to be helping her realize she had potential to learn the material and retain it," she remembers. "That showed me the impact that a teacher could have. It sparked something in me, made me feel like I really could make a career of this."

Reid's dedication paid off when she became the first person in her family to go straight to college after high school.  She was elated when she was accepted into the prestigious and highly competitive Teaching Fellows program at Queens. Then she learned she'd also earned a Michael and Susan Dell scholarship.

"The education major at Queens is rigorous, and I'm just amazed at how well-rounded we will all be when we enter our own classrooms," she says. "At a lot of universities education majors only do student teaching during their senior year, but we've already been in the classroom, observing and traveling to schools including the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta to learn about best practices."

In Charlotte, she has worked with students at Billingsville Elementary and Spaugh Middle, and this school year will teach at Myers Park High. Next summer she will travel to Australia along with other Teaching Fellows from Queens to explore their education system.

"I've learned what can happen when you fully commit yourself to a goal," she says. "I'm looking forward to trying to inspire my own students to realize their potential."
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