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Why Gifts Matter: Scholarship Support Allows Cliff Redish to Be A Better Teacher for His Students

After Cliff Redish graduated from college with a degree in history, he decided to travel the world. He worked at a ski resort in Colorado; played in a band, Johnny and the Empanadas, in Brazil; and led bike tours through Spain before finally deciding to return to the United States and become a history teacher.

“It was almost like a mission to come back and to teach people and to get them enthusiastic about the world and humanity,” Redish said.

Redish taught in Denver, Colorado, before moving to North Carolina, where he now teaches history at Enloe Magnet High School. He is also earning his master’s degree in the NC State College of Education’s New Literacies and Global Learning: Secondary Social Studies Education concentration, with the goal of increasing the impact he can make as an educator. 

“I’m just trying to be a better teacher,” Redish said. “I love the kids and I want the kids to have the best teacher they can have.”

As he works to achieve that goal, Redish said he is appreciative of the financial support he has received through the Moshakos Family Teacher Education Graduate Fellowship.

“It certainly lets you know that people want you to be here.” Redish said. “It’s a confidence booster. That work I’m putting in, it benefits [me as a] student and the added benefits are for our kids.” 

During his time at NC State, Redish said he has enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate with his fellow students and learn from faculty, especially Associate Professor Paula McAvoy, who studies how to discuss difficult topics, such as politics, in the classroom. 

“Our job is to create members of a democratic society who can talk with each other,” Redish said. “The ideal of democracy is why we’re teachers. It’s so vital.”

Redish also hopes earning his master’s degree will allow him to better support his fellow teachers, similar to the way he was supported when he started his teaching career in Denver. There, he had mentors like Andrew Garland, who taught game theory to sixth-graders, and Dana Van Tilborg, who encouraged him to experiment with new ways to make learning engaging for kids. 

“Some people have a lot of natural talent for connecting with students,” Redish said. “But there’s also the skills of knowing how to do an objective and knowing how to have a plan for the day and how to choose texts and how to develop essential questions. My goal is to be able to be just a great mentor to young teachers.”

For Redish, it’s important to give back, and he is grateful for the financial support donors to the College of Education have shown educators like him. 

“Gifts matter because that money goes directly to help teachers,” Redish said. “You cannot have a good education system without good teachers, because what really matters to students is good teachers.”