A Cabool resident received a scholarship at a recent conference.

A Cabool resident is a new member of the Ozarks Teacher Corps scholarship program, which will provide a $4,000 annual award in return for her commitment to teach in a rural district after her graduation from Missouri State University-West Plains.

ReBena Sigman, studying elementary teacher education at MSU-West Plains, is one of nine college students awarded scholarships in the new Ozarks Teacher Corps group recognized at the April 26 Rural Schools Partnership conference in Thomasville.

In return for two years of scholarships totaling $8,000 ($4,000 each year), the students commit to teaching for at least three years in a rural school. The students also will serve as teacher interns and explore rural education issues as part of their studies.

Sigman talked about the influences that guided her to seek out an opportunity like the Ozarks Teacher Corps, and the role of communities when it comes to children.

“I was lucky enough to have many teachers in my past that were a positive influence in my life, and I hope that I can have the same effect on the students that I come into contact with in the future,” Sigman said. “I believe that each and every community should make supporting their rural school district a priority.”

The Ozarks Teacher Corps scholarships are made possible by the Chesley and Flora Lee Wallis Scholarship Fund, created by generous donors committed to ensuring advanced education for Ozarks students. The fund supports students involved in the Rural Schools Partnership, an initiative of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks dedicated to strengthening rural schools as anchors of their communities.

The Ozarks Teacher Corps was inaugurated in 2010 with its first group of recipients; since then, most of the program’s members have graduated and accepted positions teaching in rural Ozarks school districts, or are on the path to doing so. The OTC students meet as a group four times a year for field experiences and training opportunities.

In addition to the scholarships, each student will receive a free membership to the Rural Schools Innovation Network, a training and networking program of the Rural School and Community Trust.

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