Some sophomore high school students at four schools in the Dallas Independent School District are focusing beyond graduation, to their careers in education.
Thursday night, they have the opportunity to sign letters of intent that will guarantee them teaching jobs in DISD after they graduate college and get their teaching certificates.
"I want to teach math," Lizbeth Rodriguez said. "Or it could be art. I like art and math."
The latest news from around North Texas.
Rodriquez is one of 45 students in Samuell High School's P-TECH Education Pathway program. There are about 200 students at four campuses in the district who are enrolled in the program.
"I think we sometimes forget to promote our own profession," Saumuell High Principal Jennifer Tecklenburg said. "You ask a little kid when they are younger, 'Ok, what do you want to do?', and they've got all these ideas and dreams. You ask an older student; sometimes they forget that."
Rodriguez said she knew she wanted to teach at a young age. The Education Pathway program gave her direction, but her decision is not simply academic.
"There's also the feeling you get being able to help others," Rodriquez said. "For me, it's not really about the money. It's about helping kids learn and inspiring them. Like, giving back to a community that helped me grow up."
Tecklenburg said there are advantages to the school district hiring its own graduates.
"They know the community. They know their experiences as a student in that community," Tecklenburg said. "It kind of gives them a head start."
"I want to be a good teacher," sophomore Anhuar Hernandez said. "A teacher that listens to the kids, a teacher that is there for the kids is what I think makes a good teacher."
Students in the Education Pathway program are also in the early college program, and will graduate high school with an associate's degree, giving them a head start on college too.
"I'll be able to teach kids and make them happy. Inspire them," Rodriguez said. "And that just makes me happy, too."