Calling her experience at Governor’s School for Prospective Teachers (GSPT) at UTC “the best time of her life,” Bernadette Murillo, a high school senior from Shelbyville, Tennessee, can’t wait to begin college classes and work toward becoming a full-time educator.

Bernadette Murillo

“I have always wanted to be a teacher. Knowing that there was a Governor’s School to help me pursue that dream really intrigued me,” Murillo said.

“I want to teach because I want to make difference in a child’s life that could help them become who they want to be,” she continued. “I plan to teach middle school math. As I researched more about teaching, I learned there aren’t as many middle school teachers and that’s when the students are beginning to find out who they are by trying different things. I think that would be a good place for me to be to help guide them in the right direction.”

GSPT is a five-week summer program for rising eleventh and twelfth grade students funded by the Tennessee State Department of Education. In an effort to encourage the region’s brightest students to become professional educators, the program allows participating students to get six hours of college credit by attending classes and completing activities.

“In an usual day, we go to several classes and study hall. We’ve also done some fun activities in Chattanooga, like visiting Ruby Falls and Rock City,” Murillo said.

The capstone of the program for participants is teaching classes for a week to Youth University students. UTC Youth University offers a series of fun educational classes to local students to teach skill development, college preparation, and other special interests.

“It was difficult to find fun, creative activities to keep them involved, focused, and entertained. But overall, it was an amazing experience. It pushed me to want to be continue teaching,” Murillo said.

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