‘Teacher of the Week’ introducing students to high-paying, in-demand food industry service careers

ROCKY POINT, NC (WWAY) — Students at Heide Trask High School are now home for summer vacation but recently we visited the campus to surprise one of the teachers as our ‘Teacher of the Week.’

Morgan Grady is a Continuing Technical Education, or CTE, teacher and she just finished her second year of teaching at the school.

During our visit, Grady’s class had just finished a week-long study about Spanish culture and foods. The students were making a Mexican taco meat recipe with all the fixings including Puerto Rican strawberry cake.

Grady earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Health Studies from East Carolina University (ECU) and soon realized the classroom is where she really wanted to be.

“I was teaching dance part-time after college and I loved being around students of all ages and I just really thought I could be taking my passion of being in the classroom and teaching school, and food and nutrition–something that I am passionate about,” said Grady.

She is now working to complete the requirements for her North Carolina teaching license through ECU.

Grady says she tries to remind her students to pursue a career they’re passionate about in a field students they find exciting.

“A lot of times, they feel pressure from school that they need to go to a four-year university or they feel pressure from home that they need to go into the work workforce right out of high school,” Grady said.

She says its ok if students aren’t sure about what type of career they want to pursue.

“You don’t have to know what you want to do right now,” she said. “I want them to think about what would make them happy and try that, and if it doesn’t make you happy, then try something else. Life is too short to not be happy.”

Principal Michael Taylor says Grady’s CTE class is in demand with lots of students wanting to take her class and part of the reason is the way she treats students.

“When you walk the halls, you hear her engaging kids in a caring and passionate manner,” Taylor said.

Students at this Pender County school have faced lots of challenges in recent years due to hurricanes and, more recently, the stress of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We’ve been three years in a row now with some type of inconvenience to our traditional learning and it’s been very difficult for our students and our staff as well but because of people like Ms. Grady and other teachers in our building who have that constant positive vibe about them, we’re helping kids be more and more successful each and every day,” Taylor said.

As for being ‘Teacher of the Week,’ Grady says she can’t believe someone nominated her.

“It makes me so happy that I have made that kind of impact on anyone and that is definitely the goal and the reason I wanted to be a teacher,” Grady said. “This is definitely something to be proud of and I’m super excited, so thank you so much, I really appreciate it.”

Next week, WWAY will introduce you to our last ‘Teacher of the Week’ for the 2020-2021 academic year. Then, you can go to our website to cast your vote for your favorite teacher we’ve featured. Our ‘Teacher of the school year’ will receive a big surprise. You can vote online between June 8-14.

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