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Spring 2018 Educator of the Quarter: Bethany Darnley
March 26 @ 8:00 am - April 9 @ 8:00 am
Educator of the Quarter
Bethany Darnley from Garinger High School
There’s a quote posted in Bethany Darnley’s classroom at Garinger High School. It reads, “It’s not about what you want to be, it’s about what problems you want to solve.” This has been a mantra for our educator of the quarter, as she’s worked to improve the lives of her students at Garinger by creating unique leadership programs aimed at connecting underserved students with the community around them.
Darley is the founder of the Ultreia Society — a Latin phrase meaning, “Always Further, Always Higher” — that is structured to give Garinger students the tools to pursue their goals, and also to teach and help others. The juniors and seniors in the program mentor “at-risk” freshmen for course credit, while local businesses and community leaders work with the older students and offer workshops and internships.
Originally from Pittsburgh, Penn., Darnley has been teaching at Garinger for four years, and her impact is already being felt — not just in our surrounding neighborhoods and school district, but citywide.
Last year, Darnley and Plaza Midwood neighbor Caitlin Sellers Castevens launched the Student Entrepreneurship Summit, aimed at connecting students with business leaders in the community. The inaugural event was such a huge success that this year’s follow-up will be even bigger, including students from around Charlotte.
“There is a thriving entrepreneurship community within Charlotte, but our students have limited exposure to the vast opportunities and career pathways available to them,” Darnley said. “My hope is that the entrepreneur summit provides exposure to students to pursue careers they are passionate about. In the long run, I hope it can support pathways to build community and mentorship between our high school and local businesses.”
The idea of improving social capital for young people in communities where those networks rarely exist has been a talking point in Charlotte political circles for years, but Darnley’s work is making an impact, and the city has recognized the Entrepreneur Summit as a big step in the right direction.
This year’s event will be held May 14 at Tate Hall, on the campus of CPCC with students from Garinger, West Charlotte High School and Vance High School participating. There will be keynote speakers, mock interviews and breakout sessions to teach students about everything from writing a resume to networking.
Darnley and Castevens are still looking for volunteers and business owners in the community to participate. If you’re interested in being a part of the project, you can email Darnley at firstname.lastname@example.org.