Sheriff Leon Lott’s daughter among the 10 fellowship recipients
By W. Thomas Smith Jr.
Ten graduating high school students from Lexington-Richland School District Five have been awarded the prestigious South Carolina Teaching Fellowship: Each receiving up to $24,000 in “fellowship funds” as they complete a degree leading to initial teacher certification, according a June 2 statement released by the district.
The students include: Kathryn Bishop (graduating from Spring Hill High School and will attend Lander University), Corey Corley (Chapin High School, University of South Carolina), Alexis Farell (Chapin High School, USC), McKenzie Lott (Chapin High School, USC–Aiken), Caroline Mack (Spring Hill High School, Clemson University), Ramsey Brynn McIntyre (Dutch Fork High School, USC), Tianna Mukendi (Spring Hill High School, Winthrop University), Emily Grace Ottone (Dutch Fork High School, USC), McKenzie Ann Smith (Dutch Fork High School, USC) and Sarah Stoudemire (Chapin High School, Clemson).
“This scholarship means the world to me,” says McKenzie Lott, youngest daughter of Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott. “The opportunity to be surrounded by future teachers is so inspiring. I can’t wait to expand my knowledge on teaching and meet those who share my passion. This scholarship will help me pay for college as well.”
Lott, who also has signed with the USC-Aiken women’s basketball team, adds: “The [teaching fellowship] application process was extremely challenging. The written questions, presentation, oral questions, and the essay were all very difficult. At the same time, we had to demonstrate both self-composure through the process and an enthusiasm and passion for teaching.”
Lott says her two favorite teachers are Ms. Sara Kimberlin and Mrs. Amy Carter, who were instrumental in Lott’s receiving the fellowship award. “They encouraged me to apply for the scholarship,” she says. “They believed in me, and they had confidence in me.”
Carter, an English teacher at Chapin High, was recently named S.C. Teacher of Year for 2022 by S.C. Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman.
Enacted by the S.C. General Assembly in 1999, the S.C. Teaching Fellows program is a function of the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement (CERRA). The aim of the program is to recruit proven-talented high school seniors into the teaching profession and to help them develop leadership qualities along the way. Each fellowship recipient must agree to teach in a S.C. public school for one year, for every year he or she receives the fellowship.
Applicants for the program undergo a rigorous selection process that includes an online application, an interview and presentation in front of a team of three educators, and a scored response. The application emphasizes academic accomplishment, school/community service and/or work experience, and leadership skills.
For more information about the S.C. Teaching Fellows Program, please visit cerra.org/teaching-fellows.html.