Out of 500 North Carolina students, two Newton-Conover High School students were accepted as Teaching Fellows for this year.

"To receive this scholarship, it is just a great feeling," said Rawdon Marroquin, a selected Teaching Fellow. "Out of the nine people from Newton-Conover who applied to get the scholarship, I was one of the two to actually receive it."

Marroquin and Ashley Bandy were NCHS's two Teaching Fellows for this year, which brings each student excitement as they plan to graduate high school and go to college.

"I am glad to have the money, but more importantly to be a part of such an esteemed group and have such a wonderful four years ahead of me," Bandy said.

Teaching Fellows gives each selected student $6,500 a year for four college years. Within six years after graduation, the students must teach for four years in a North Carolina school.

This gives the students an opportunity to repay the government for the education by working as a public school teacher. If students do not repay the government through services, they must pay the loan back with 10 percent interest.

"The reason I chose to apply for the Teaching Fellows was because of my love for history and my history teacher, Mrs. Schronce," said Marroquin. "She helped me so much with my writing and test-taking skills. Also, Laura Alvarez, a Teaching Fellow recipiant last year at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, told me about how great it was."

Bandy, on the other hand, wants to follow a different path.

"I want to be a high school math teacher because I love math, and I wish more people were comfortable with it," she said.

The Teaching Fellow application process started in the fall and required applicants to list activities in which they participate, including honor classes and clubs, and a few short essays describing their personality. Then, students had two interviews.

"For me, being interviewed was easy because I'm used to being in front of people," Marroquin said. "The hardest part was waiting to hear back from them on whether or not I received the scholarship."

The first interview is the district interview, and it was held at Newton-Conover High School. After the first interview, the applicants were narrowed down and selected for a regional interview. This interview took place at Appalachian State University.

To prepare for the interviews Sylvia Trimble, a guidance counselor at Newton-Conover High School, gave the students a list of potential questions in the regional interview. Also, Trimble organized a mock interview to give the students an idea of what the real interviews might be like.

This also let them receive critiques that would better their chances at earning the Teaching Fellows scholarship.

"One of the things they said would make a first good impression was to dress up," Bandy said. "By dressing up, it lets people take you more serious."

On April 11, both students were honored in front of the Newton-Conover City Schools Board of Education for their achievement.

"It was wonderful to be recognized because I've been honored before, but this is the accomplishment I have been most proud of," Bandy said.

Bandy and Marroquin were accepted into the Teaching Fellows at Appalachian State University, which was their first-choice university.