“Back to the Pack” Event Brings Veteran and Aspiring Teachers Together

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Foreign Language Education coordinator Dr. Karen Tharrington receives a recognition for her 20+ years as a foreign language educator during the 2017 "Back to the Pack" event. Photo SFS.

Dean Jeff Braden welcomes faculty, students, and alumni to the event. Photo SFS.

Teacher appreciation and inspiration was the highlight of “Back to the Pack: Recruit and Retain,” an event recently hosted by the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures. Students interested in a career teaching foreign languages had the chance to speak with NC State professors, including the Head and Assistant Head of the department Drs. Ruth Gross and Dudley Marchi, as well as NC State alumni who’ve now embraced careers in teaching foreign languages from elementary to collegiate levels.

The coordinator of the Foreign Language Education program, Dr. Karen Tharrington, spoke to the importance of recruiting students who aspire to become teachers, and retaining those who’ve already committed to profession. Tharrington’s passion for her career in Spanish education, and advisory work with students interested in teaching foreign languages is infectious and set the tone for the event. The benefits of learning a foreign language are innumerable, which is a shared belief by this group of educators who’ve committed their lives to ensuring languages remain relevant in school curriculums. All of the teachers in attendance were honored for their work, whether in their first year as a teacher, or having been in the field for over twenty years.

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Department Head Dr. Ruth Gross (right) converses with French lecturer Turi Hoversten (center) and Assistant Department Head Dr. Dudley Marchi (left). Photo SFS.

Dean Jeff Braden, of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, said a few words to kick-off the recognition of the teachers. Dean Braden thanked them for their dedication to teaching, and emphasized the crucialness of inspiring the youth to become educators, especially in the fields of language and literature. In such a STEM-based society it can be challenging for students who are passionate about foreign language education, to feel validated for their career choice. This is exactly why events like “Back to the Pack: Recruit and Retain” are critical, and continue to inspire students and teachers to remain on the path they have chosen.

All of the veteran teachers in attendance graduated from NC State and are currently working as foreign language teachers for Wake County Public Schools.


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Wayfinder Circle with 1-4 years of teaching (left-right): Ivy Cody, Annie Furches, Carrie Hinson, Juliana Maul, Jennifer Todd, Paige Ryan, Kallie McNamara. Photo SFS.
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Innovator Circle with 5-9 years of teaching (left-right): Kayley Bartlett, Laura Griffith, Shelby Cole, Kristin Forrest. Photo SFS.
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Visionary Circle with 15-19 years of teaching (left-right): Barbie Book Brown, Delynda Ramirez-Carter. Photo SFS.

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