Charlotte Teacher Early College and Barnhill Scholarships Open Doors for Future Educators

Three graduates of the Charlotte Teacher Early College (CTEC) are continuing their journey to becoming educators with the help of scholarships from the Barnhill Foundation.

The Barnhill Foundation provided $90,000 in scholarship funds, with each student eligible for up to $30,000 to be used over a maximum of three years to attend the Cato College of Education. As part of the scholarship, the recipients committed to teach in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) for at least three years after program completion. The complementary supports provided by CTEC and scholarships like Barnhill underscore the Cato College of Education’s commitment to collaborating with partners to ensure there is a consistent pipeline of well-prepared, passionate teachers to lead classrooms. The scholarship recipients represent diverse backgrounds and motivations for pursuing a career in education.

Cing Thian Kim

Cing Thian Kim graduated from CTEC as a member of the class of 2022. One of the first CTEC students to matriculate into the professional teaching program at UNC Charlotte, she is now completing her second semester of professional coursework.

“I want to teach because I came from a background where education was not something everyone has access to,” she said. “I am from a small village in Burma where our first priority was making sure there’s food on the table. There, it is very common for many to drop out of school to help their families on the farm. Because of this my mother only finished 3rd grade. In the area we lived, education was also expensive. As a result, my father had to give up his dream of being a doctor after graduating high school. My parents did not want us to grow up like they did. Instead, they wanted a better future for us. As I become a teacher, I hope to prove to them that their sacrifices were indeed worth it. Here in America, I am able to experience the importance of education and how powerful knowledge can be. I want students to realize that as well.”

Kim says CTEC’s rigorous curriculum prepared her well for college classes and pushed her to grow.

“One of the things I dreaded was public speaking. We had to take an elective class in speech and debate where we conducted research on a topic and debated our classmates. We also presented often in my other classes. Although I may still get a little anxious now, I firmly believe that my public speaking skills really improved,” she said.

Monet evans

Monet Evans graduated from CTEC as a member of the class of 2023. An elementary education major, Evans is participating as part of the inaugural cohort of CTEC students in the Cato College of Education Learning Community.

“I want to teach in order to inspire,” Evans said. “I aspire to pour back the knowledge, wisdom, and strength that was poured into me by my teachers. Teaching truly is a work of heart, and it takes a big heart to fulfill the role. Being a minority teacher also is dear to my heart, being able to connect with my students and allowing them that feeling of safety means the world to me.”

Evans also credits her experience at the Charlotte Teacher Early College with setting her up for success.

“Attending Charlotte Teacher Early College was by far my best decision. Charlotte Teacher Early College is such a great stepping stone for students after middle school. You will feel the love as soon as you step into the building. The program has not only prepared me for college but also prepared me for day-to-day life,” she said.

Fiona Ganchenko

Fiona Ganchenko graduated from Charlotte Teacher Early College as salutatorian of the class of 2023. She was accepted into the professional program for elementary education for the Fall semester, and has started work on her professional program foundations courses.

For Ganchenko, the learning curve of starting college has been more manageable thanks to her experience with CTEC.

“To begin with, the teachers and staff ‘held our hand’ through our first college classes to show us what to expect. Slowly, they let go of our hands and let us effortlessly transition into being a full-time college student. I truly do not know what my college experience would look like without the support from CTEC.”

As she continues her coursework, Ganchenko says she is taking the first steps toward a childhood dream.

“I always knew that I was going to be a teacher. I loved watching other people learn as a child and understand and knew that it was going to be what I do as an adult.”

For the 2023-24 academic year, UNC Charlotte awarded 1,951 endowed and annual institutional scholarships totaling nearly 6.4 million dollars.

Learn more about scholarships and financial aid.