Gillian Giles, a 2015 Rogers High School and Pierce College graduate, was recently awarded a 2015 Future Educator scholarship valued at $1,000 from the Pierce County School Retirees Association.
“I had a list of scholarships that I needed to get in, and this was a mail-in application,” the 18-year-old Giles said. “I mailed it in the very last day, so getting it was a shock to me.”
Giles was awarded the scholarship at the Pierce County School Retirees luncheon on May 21.
“I met the people who gave me the scholarship, and it opened my eyes (to these retired teachers) that have made a difference,” Giles said. “It made me grateful getting it from them.”
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Giles plans to put the scholarship toward her college education when she attends Central Washington University in the fall.
At CWU, Giles will pursue a secondary math teaching degree and will be part of a LLC, or living-learning community, where students majoring in science, technology, mathematics and engineering reside.
Another scholarship Giles is excited to receive is the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship, valued at $2,500 per year, and awarded to STEM majors.
Earlier this month, Giles achieved two milestones: On June 12, she graduated from Pierce College with a two-year associate’s degree after completing the Running Start program. The following day, she graduated from Rogers High School.
Giles said it was sibling rivalry that inspired her to enter the Running Start program her junior year. Her older brother, Jesse, started Running Start his senior year and didn’t graduate from Pierce College until a year after his high school graduation. Jesse will be a senior at CWU starting this fall.
“I’m glad sibling rivalry pushed me to do that,” Giles said.
Giles’ younger sister, Madeline, will follow in her footsteps and complete her two-year degree at Pierce College in June 2016 as the result of Running Start.
Giles said the idea to become a math teacher didn’t come to her until two years ago.
“I’ve always had really good math teachers,” Giles said. “It’s always inspired me to help people in that subject, because it’s a hard subject. I thought it would be good to help people in a subject that comes easy to me.”
After completing her secondary math teaching degree, Giles isn’t sure where she will teach, other than she wants it to be at a high school or ninth grade level.
“Part of me wants to teach in Puyallup; another part of me wants to go wherever the job takes me,” she said. “I wouldn’t mind teaching at Rogers or at other schools in the Puyallup School District.”