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Why Gifts Matter: Scholarship Support Allows Elizabeth Stavrakakis ’23 to Build Foundation for Students’ Learning

Both of Elizabeth Stavrakakis’ parents attended NC State, but despite growing up immersed in all things Wolfpack, Stavrakakis considered going elsewhere until she attended the NC State College of Education’s admitted students day. There, she talked with staff members who remembered her from a college tour the previous year.

“It just really made me feel so welcomed and like people really wanted me to come here,” said Stavrakakis, a senior elementary education major who will graduate in May.

Stavrakakis has continued to feel that sense of support throughout her time in the College of Education. She has received four separate scholarships, which will allow her to graduate and start her career as a teacher debt-free. 

“It has really helped show me that the College of Education does believe in me and that they do really think that I’ll be a good teacher one day,” Stavrakakis said. “Being able to graduate without student debt is a huge deal. And I’m really grateful for that.”

During her time in the College of Education, Stavrakakis has taken advantage of a number of opportunities to get involved in the college community. Prior to her senior year, she served as president of the Elementary Education Organization (ELMO), engaged in learning experiences as a Passport to Success Scholar and was secretary of the Education Council, which oversees all student organizations in the college.

This academic year, she was named president of the Educational Council and, on top of her student teaching responsibilities, Stavrakakis has worked to ensure events like the organization fair, Dinner with the Deans and the Education Spotlight Awards all go off without a hitch. 

“It was really cool to be the president after seeing how much of it was run,” Stavrakakis said. “I was able to have a really good idea of the organization I was coming into and be able to keep up the traditions, but then also see where we could do things differently.”

Her time as a leader within the College of Education made her student teaching experience, at A.B. Combs Leadership Magnet Elementary, a perfect fit. Stavrakakis said she appreciated working at a school that prioritizes leadership development.

“It’s really cool to see how at that school, kids at such a young age, they all have these leadership roles,” Stavrakakis said.

After graduation, Stavrakakis hopes to use her leadership experience to be an elementary school teacher who gives her students a strong foundation in education. 

“The building blocks are so important in elementary school,” Stavrakakis said. “Learning how to read, even though that might seem simple, is so important and it really plays into everything else you learn later on. I just thought being able to be a part of students learning those foundational skills would be really cool.”