JACKSONVILLE, Fla – Hoping to increase the number of minority teachers, the University of North Florida is offering scholarships.
Nine students were awarded full scholarships from the university through the Holmes Scholar Program. The students are beginning a challenging and promising path to becoming future educators. They are committed to becoming teachers in Northeast Florida.
"It's exciting to me that I can give back to my community as a positive role model and in society today," said Jarred Jackson, a student who received a full scholarship.
"I really want to give back to my community," said Ian Thomas, who also received a scholarship.
Thomas and Jackson plan on teaching elementary education. Their decision comes at a time when minority male teachers across the country are scarce.
According to statistics, less than 2% of teachers are African-American men. Less than 1% of teachers are Hispanic men.
UNF hopes the scholarship will alleviate the disparity.
"I am a native of Jacksonville and had it not been for some teachers that understood my reality, I wouldn't be here today," said Dr. Rudy Jamison, assistant director of the Center for Urban Education. "I want to create the same conditions for these young men and these young women.
"These young men and women are so powerful that they are going to be change agents, not only in the classroom but also the community," said Dr. Chris Janson, director of the Center for Urban Education.
Thomas and Jackson are looking forward to college life and know they have a chance to change the world through their decisions.
"Knowing that I can go in the school system and affect a child's life is very exciting," Jackson said.
Four of the nine scholars who received scholarships are first generation college students.
The program begins June 23. The students are aiming to graduate in 2023.