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Center Grove students sign ‘letters of intent’ to become teachers

GREENWOOD, Ind. (WISH) — To address its teacher shortage, the Center Grove school district looked to its student body as the next generation of teachers.

Twenty Center Grove High School students signed “letters of intent” to become teachers after they graduate college.

Nolen Foley, a senior at Center Grove, said, “So many inspiring people in my life, my parents, grandparents, they were both teachers, too.”

Foley will attend Indiana Wesleyan University.

As part of the arrangement, the Center Grove district will guarantee the students a first-round interview once they graduate college and fulfill the necessary licensing.

Gary Robinson, a member of the Center Grove School Board, said, “We have been successful with Center Grove athletic signings, to tell you the truth. It’s a big deal, so how can we take those athletic signings that we participate in to bring it to the field of education.”

During Tuesday’s signing ceremony, students were joined by their parents and a teacher who inspired them.

Rylie Ebert, another senior at Center Grove, said, “I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. All the teachers that I’ve had since kindergarten have really made me want to be a teacher. My love for kids has grown since kindergarten so it was really hard choosing just one teacher that impacted my life.”

Ebert will attend Manchester University in northern Indiana.

The 20 students, who spent nearly half their high school careers learning from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, will enter the workforce at a time when teacher pay is low, and mass shootings have put kids and teachers in danger.

Foley said, “There are other professions that I have looked into that are double or triple the pay. But, someone can make $30,000 a year and still retire and have a good amount of money just through savings and wealth building.”

The students are not bound by the letters. They can change their majors in college, or teach at another district outside Center Grove without any penalties.