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Alexandria students train to be 'Teachers for Tomorrow'

Alexandria students train to be "Teachers of Tomorrow,"  Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017 (Kellye Lynn/ABC7) 

For 17-year old Mackena Settles growing up has involved frequent adjustments to new people and places. When her father's job changed, so did she. She told ABC7 News, "I have attended about seven different schools in three different states and teachers have always been the stable part of my life that have kind of shaped who I am."

It's one of the reasons why the T.C. Williams High School senior wants to do the same. She hopes to shape other students through teaching. A program at her school called "Teachers for Tomorrow" is helping her achieve that. Instructor Kimberly Wilson explained, "When they graduate from high school they truly are a step ahead of their many student cohorts when they go to college and they're prepared."

Through a series of lessons, students learn what it takes to become a teacher and later test out their knowledge in a real life classroom setting.

Teachers for Tomorrow also allows participants to earn teaching credentials such as the ParaPro or Praxis. The program is in its second year at T.C. Williams and comes at a time when there is an urgent need for teachers in the state. Virginia currently has a critical teacher shortage.

Seventeen-year-old Erica Kwakye loves taking care of her young niece and is now getting the skills to someday teach young children. "It helps me to understand how children are so it gets me prepared for what I want to do later on," she shared.

Settles added, "It's amazing to be a senior in high school and get this opportunity."

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