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Meet Our Incoming Students: Three Incoming Education Students Named Goodnight Scholars

Class of 2024 Goodnight Scholars

This is part of a summer “Meet Our Incoming Students” series in which the College of Education will introduce some of its first-year, transfer and graduate students who will join us this fall.

Three of the incoming students who will be joining the NC State College of Education this fall will be part of the Goodnight Scholars Program. They are three of the 70 students who will make up the Goodnight Scholars Program’s Class of 2024 and Transfer Class of 2023.

The Goodnight Scholars Program, which was established in 2008 by NC State alumni Jim and Ann Goodnight, provides North Carolina residents from low- and middle-income families interested in studying science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) or STEM education with a scholarship valued at $19,500. The scholarships are renewable for up to four years for first-year students and up to two years for transfer students.

Meet the three incoming NC State College of Education students named Goodnight Scholars.

Heidy Labra-FrancoHeidy Labra-Franco

Warrenton, North Carolina
Warren Early College High School
Mathematics Education

As a student at Warren Early College High School in Warren County, Heidy Labra-Franco was part of the Governor’s School of North Carolina and was awarded first place for her science project in the district’s Science and Engineering Fair. Labra-Franco was involved in the National Beta Club, Student Government Association, Superintendent’s Student Council and worked as a peer tutor for Vance-Granville Community College.

Why did you choose the NC State College of Education?

I chose the NC State College of Education because not only have I met amazing teachers who have gone through the program, but the program assists teachers in their career from the beginning. They allow students to get field experience early on and build from there.

What inspired you to become a teacher?

I wanted to become a teacher after realizing the power an education has. There are students who don’t receive a full education due to circumstances in their area or at home. I wanted to become a teacher to be a helpful hand. My intention is to prepare students for life and to make sure they have options. I want people to find comfort in learning so they may see it as a life jacket when they feel stuck.

What attracted you to mathematics education?

I chose math education because I see mathematics as a universal language. It’s something I want to share with the world and help others love.

How does it feel to be selected for the Goodnight Scholars Program?

Being selected for the Goodnight Scholars Program was a relief. With two siblings in college, my financial situation wasn’t ideal. I was determined to continue my studies, so the program’s support removed weight from my shoulders. Their investment, in a way, validated my dreams and encouraged me to keep going.

Ashton Jones

Greenville, North Carolina
North Pitt High School
Elementary Education

At North Pitt High School in Pitt County, Ashton Jones served as executive president of the Student Body Government and was a member of the National Honor Society. He was also an active member of Link Crew, the Friends Reaching out Encouraging Student Help (F.R.E.S.H.) Club, Drama Club and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD).

Why did you choose the NC State College of Education? 

I have always wanted to attend NC State. Originally, I wanted to become a veterinarian; however, I changed my mind sophomore year and figured out that teaching was my passion. I know that NC State has a supportive community and they produce some of the greatest teachers in North Carolina.

What attracted you to elementary education?

I always thought I wanted to teach high school English until I started tutoring and then I realized that I enjoy working with people and children more hands-on rather than sitting back in a chair and watching them do work on their own.

Why did you choose education?

I chose education because I feel like it is the best way to ensure that future generations get the proper knowledge they need to guide them through life, which is ever-changing.

How does it feel to be selected for the Goodnight Scholars Program?

I am honored to be part of such a supportive and inclusive community that invests in not only my future but also the futures of all the children who I have the opportunity to teach.

Chandler Parrish

Louisburg, North Carolina
Louisburg High School
Mathematics Education

As a student at Louisburg High School in Franklin County, Chandler Parris received the George Eastman Young Leaders Award and the Shocco Creek DAR Good Citizen Award. She was also a junior marshal, a member of the National Honor Society and held multiple positions at the school, including peer tutor, admissions ambassador, senior class president and color guard team member. Outside of school, she participated in competitive dance and volleyball.

Why did you choose the NC State College of Education? 

Headed into my senior year of high school, I was certain I wanted to stay in North Carolina. Given the great educational opportunities in our state and the chance to stay close to home, it’d be ridiculous not to. During my application process, NC State quickly became one of my top choices. Placed right in the capital of North Carolina, filled with research opportunities and serving as the home to a high-esteemed College of Education; it seemed perfect for me. In January, when I received my acceptance to NC State, my decision was pretty much made. However, in the following months when I was awarded an incredible scholarship opportunity, my choice to attend NC State was even further solidified.

Why did you choose education?

The months leading up to my senior year, I had been on the hunt for a major that struck my interest and captured my passion. It wasn’t until days before my first application was due that I realized my passion had been right in front of me for years — education. That day, I watched my AP Calculus teacher in a new, more intentional light. I watched as she worked her way through the classroom helping students, building relationships and sharing her love of mathematics. It was soon obvious to me that my professional future was in the classroom as well. After that, I registered to be a peer tutor at my high school to get some light teaching experience. I loved every minute of it! My decision to become an educator had been fortified.

What attracted you to mathematics education? 

Throughout my educational career, I’ve always been attracted to the STEM field, but particularly math. I love the range that math has in that it can be applied to basically anything. The opportunity to not only help and build relationships with students but to also share my passion for mathematics excites me beyond measure.

How does it feel to be selected for the Goodnight Scholars Program?

I could never find words fitting to describe my gratefulness and excitement to join the Goodnight Scholars Program. In addition to the financial aspects of this program, it also offers comprehensive programming and enrichment opportunities. My involvement in this program and within my cohort seems to make NC State’s expansive student body feel a little smaller and a lot more like home. I have yet to meet the rest of my Goodnight Scholars class on campus but the relationships built between my fellow scholars and I are already unbreakable. They’ve quickly become some of my best friends. I am eager to get on campus and take part in the amazing opportunities offered by the Goodnight Scholars Program.

Adapted from the Goodnight Scholars Program Announces Class of 2024 and Transfer Class of 2023