PEARL RIVER COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Educators in Pearl River County are working to fix the current teacher shortage affecting Mississippi.
"Right now, our nation, not just Mississippi, but our nation is facing a teacher shortage," said Teacher Academy instructor Stacy Reese.
The Teacher Academy is a program in Pearl River County School District for juniors and seniors in high school to learn about the education field. Superintendent Alan Lumpkin believes this program will help build an interest in the field.
"There are scholarships available for teacher academy completers in our high school, so really it just kind of gets their interest involved in the profession and provides them with a transition into college to gain their education in teaching and their teaching certificates," said Lumpkin.
Those scholarships can be used at Pearl River Community College, where a new partnership with William Carey University will allow teaching students to complete their entire bachelor's degree at the Poplarville Campus. There are certain requirements, however. Participants have to agree to work in one of the three participating school districts: Pearl River County, Picayune, Poplarville if positions are available for a minimum of three years.
The partnership gives Teacher Academy students something to shoot for, and many who take part in the program have decided they would like to continue in college.
"Being able to help people out, and give back to my community, and not just have another job, just excites me," said junior Vincent Messina. "I can see the success of people that I have taught."
"Being in this class, they kind of treat you like you are already a teacher. So, everything that I'm going to be doing in the future is like second nature," said senior Meagan Stevens.
Reese sees the interest in the program and hopes to see it continue to grow in years to come.