A promising local student, StarQuasha Spears of the District, has received a full-tuition undergraduate scholarship at the University of Phoenix thanks to educator Stephanie Day, a teacher at Friendship Public Charter School. Spears is a senior at Anacostia High School and received the 2010 Teaching It Forward scholarship sponsored by the University of Phoenix for a degree program of her choice.

Although she is still young, Spears has faced difficulties and once believed she would never have the financial resources to further her education. The teenage mom said the University of Phoenix’s online program will be an invaluable asset as she continues to raise her child.

“With this scholarship, I can further my education online, which fits my challenging schedule,” Spears said in a press statement. “The University’s flexible and accelerated programs will also allow me to stay focused and work at a pace that is best for me.”

Day, who is one of more than 50 educators recognized by the Council of Chief State School Officers as a 2010 Teacher of the Year, was moved by Spears’ application essay and knew she was “exactly the student I wanted this opportunity to impact.”

The University of Phoenix launched the Teaching It Forward scholarship program last year to allow Teachers of the Year from around the country an opportunity to nominate a deserving high school student for a full-tuition scholarship.
Spears said she is thankful for the opportunity provided by Day and the University of Phoenix and hopes to overcome the odds stacked against her with education.

“As a teen parent, some people would expect me not to go to college, but I refuse to let that stop me,” said Spears. “It’s because of my child that I want to do this. I can raise him well and show him that getting a college degree is very important.”