The dancing guru of Rocky Mount, Rebecca Pridgen ’19, plans to tip-tap her way into the elite group of educators in North Carolina.
Goodnight Scholars Program: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Rebecca Pridgen: I am from Rocky Mount, North Carolina where I have lived all of my life. Contrary to popular belief, Rocky Mount sadly has no mountains and is actually located an hour northeast of Raleigh. Sorry for the misconception, folks! I live with my parents and my younger sister, Taylor, who is a freshman at the same high school that I graduated from in 2015, Rocky Mount High School. My entire extended family also lives in Rocky Mount, so I have grown up spending lots of time with family. When I am not spending time with family, you will find me going on adventures outdoors or singing awfully while attempting to dance to some good music. If anyone ever needs help learning The Sprinkler or The Light Bulb, I’m your girl. Here at NC State, I am majoring in elementary education with a STEM concentration. From a very young age I have had a passion for knowledge and teaching others which has continued to grow over the years. I truly believe that the future generations will be the change that the world needs and I would love to help inspire and encourage that change. I chose to attend NC State because it has one of the best education programs in the nation and I couldn’t think of a better place to help mold me into the best future educator that I can be.
Talk about some of your greatest accomplishments at NC State thus far.
When I started my freshman year at NC State, I knew community involvement that aligned with my passions was something that I definitely wanted to pursue. While on-campus, I joined an organization called Dance Marathon that raises money for the Children’s Miracle Network for children with pediatric cancer, as well as an organization called Camp Kesem that raises money for summer camps for children whose parents have cancer. Both of these organizations helped fuel my passion for caring for others and opened my eyes to numerous inspirational children across North Carolina. In addition to these organizations, I was accepted into the Passport to Success Program within the College of Education that provides professional development and networking opportunities for future teachers. This program has and will continue to help shape me into a future educator that will truly make a difference in the world. I look forward to serving on the Passport to Success Advisory Board this semester and helping the organization grow in new ways. Although it seems like almost too many organizations and programs for a student to handle, I would not have had it any other way. These clubs and this involvement around campus helped to combine my passion for educating children and my love of others while serving in any way that I could. The memories and friends that I made through each of these organizations are some that I will cherish forever and I look forward to participating in them again next semester!
From a very young age I have had a passion for knowledge and teaching others which has continued to grow over the years. I truly believe that the future generations will be the change that the world needs and I would love to help inspire and encourage that change.
How would you describe your experience in the Goodnight Scholars Program?
I have loved all of my experiences within the Goodnight Scholars Program because I am always pushed towards greatness and reminded that the sky is the limit. The Goodnight Scholars Program has given me a community of high-achieving students who each have passions that will carry them far in life. I am constantly blown away and encouraged by all of my fellow scholars and the big things that they are doing in the world. I can honestly say that I have never felt more at home on-campus than when I am at Goodnight Scholars events surrounded by these amazing people with endless opportunities to better myself. I am beyond thankful for the community, the opportunities and the lessons that I have been given through this Program.
What does being a Goodnight Scholar mean to you?
I think that being a Goodnight Scholar can best be described by our mantra to “pay it forward.” It means utilizing all of the countless resources and opportunities that you are given to impact the lives of others around you and truly make a difference in the world. Being a Goodnight Scholar means having a passion for the world and its people and doing your best to help and serve in anyway that you can because you were both helped and served through the Program. I think that all scholars will agree that with as much as we have been poured into and mentored, it’s our turn to pour into others and encourage them towards greatness.
What will the next few years look like for you?
For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a teacher. I can remember spending countless afternoons in my mother’s classroom teaching to a classroom full of imaginary kids. It was in those minuscule moments, marker in hand, that I remember thinking that if I could do this everyday for the rest of my life, I would truly be satisfied and happy. My passion for teaching was further enhanced by attending an inner city high school full of children who have faced more trials in their fifteen years of living than many people will in a lifetime. These children lack motivation or self-confidence because no one has ever believed in them or encouraged them to be the best person that they can be. By witnessing and interacting with these kids, I was inspired to be the difference and the change that impacts the lives of these students. With that being said, my goals and aspirations go so much farther than simply being a future elementary school teacher. I want to be a teacher that creates a hunger for knowledge deep within my students similar to the one that I have. I want to be the teacher that encourages students to rise above their circumstances because they are both special and smart enough to do so. I want to love, encourage and motivate my students to the point that they can look back on their elementary school days and say, “She believed in me and encouraged me to be who I am today. It was because of her that I made a difference.” All in all, I plan to take the world by storm, impacting the lives of my students along the way.
What advice would give to a new or prospective Goodnight Scholars about being involved at NC State and the Goodnight Scholars Program?
Put yourself out there and get involved on campus. NC State has numerous clubs and organizations that will align with your passions and help you to do what you love. You just have to look and find them! These organizations are full of some pretty amazing people who will impact your life in the greatest of ways if you let them. Do what you love and love what you do.