BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The Cal State Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement gives scholarships to students with incredible academics, personal accomplishments and community service experience.
One local student was recently given this award while completing a teaching credential at Cal State University Bakersfield.
Allison Cheatwood knew she loved teaching when she became a teacher’s aide at CSUB, but she didn’t know she’d teach children.
“A friend said to me, ‘Have you ever thought about teaching special education?’ and I’m like, ‘Kids? No,'" said Allison.
But now she’s finishing her special education teaching credential and she teaches at Standard Middle School where she went to school herself.
“That makes it even more of a heart-centered place for me because I went there as a child and looking at my students now and looking into their eyes, I see myself," she said.
Allison said some of the best times of her life have been in education, and she may be living in one right now. Earlier this month, she received a 2020 Trustee’s Award for Outstanding Achievement.
“I get to be the shining star on the top of the Christmas tree. I love that responsibility and I love the honor of doing that, and representing this school that I’ve come to really love," she said.
Allison said she’s feeling a wide range of emotions from humbled and excited, to proud.
“You get to sit back and kind of reap that benefit, and it’s happening and I’m in that moment right now, and I couldn’t be more excited and more thrilled," she said.
Allison has had her fair share of struggles during her career. Diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, she made countless hospital trips that impacted her schoolwork.
“So there have been times when I had to go into battle. It really felt like that, on my educational path, that I was battling this disease," said Allison.
But she never gave up, and said she owes her work ethic to her parents.
“I was raised in an environment that kept me in the mindset of you don’t give up," said Allison.
Allison said she hopes to become an administrator one day and she left this advice for her students or anyone else pursuing a similar career path.
“I don’t want to hear can’t. That’s actually one of my posters in my classroom. Clear your mind of can’t. Because that word does not exist in my vocabulary," Allison said.
The Trustees’ Award recipients, including Allison, will be recognized in a virtual ceremony Tuesday.