Twenty high school students from Glendale Community College’s dual enrollment program were awarded First Things First Scholarships.
The scholarships are for early childhood educators.
The students are taking between three and 10 credits per semester, which would cost over $9,000. The scholarship covers the cost of the classes needed to achieve an associate degree.
The First Things First Scholarship recipients are: Chloe Blackwater; Eduardo Bulleron; Sheyla Carrasco Benitez; Leilani Celaya; Odalis Contreras Silva; Kandi De Santiago Castro; Lizbeth Estrella Rivera; Grace Gomez; Kimberly Gonzalez; Cekesia Harris; Idriana Herrera Escamilla; Daniel Lara; Briana Minnis; Maria Perez Serrano; Adriana Przybylski; Alexa Ramirez; Gloria Ruvalcaba; Alexzandra Salas; Kiara Smith; Briana Valenzuela and Joselin Verdugo.
“The First Things First Scholarship requires that the students applying and receiving the money be working in the field of early childhood education or volunteering. In addition, they have to show an education plan with Glendale Community College’s Early Childhood Department on how they plan to move forward with their goal of achieving an associate’s degree in early childhood,” said Judy Basham, GCC’s program director for early childhood education.
Jacqueline Dudo, an adjunct faculty member at GCC, also heads the Early Childhood Department at Glendale’s Washington High School. She said the program prepares students for the workforce by having a licensed childcare facility on campus where students work and volunteer to receive credit.
By the time students leave the program at Washington, they earn 10 college credits counting toward an associate’s degree in early childhood. They can also test for the Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential before graduating high school.
“Despite the low wages teachers receive, this is an important field as it is what prepares all other professions,” says Basham. “By supporting the students going through education programs, we are making sure the teachers entering the field are in a profession they love. It is crucial that the teachers that are in the classroom actually want to be there and like working with students.
“At GCC, that means students complete practicum field hours before graduating to ensure they know what a day looks like in a classroom so they can make an educated decision about whether this is the career for them.”
The Glendale Community College Early Childhood Education program provides courses of study for individuals interested in working with young children.
Career opportunities include childcare centers, nannies, family childcare providers, preschool teachers, early educators and early childhood program administrators.
Glendale Community College has two campus locations on Olive and 59th avenues in Glendale and at Happy Valley Road and 59th Avenue in Deer Valley.