HUNTLEY – One way or the other, Andrew Frey has found himself helping kids, whether it’s supporting freshmen transitioning to Huntley High School or spending after-school hours with Leggee Elementary students.
When planning for college, the Huntley High School senior realized his involvement with younger kids and made the decision to study elementary education starting this fall at Illinois State University.
Frey’s commitment to education has recently made him the only Illinois Golden Apple Scholar in McHenry County this year.
The prestigious program requires all participants to dedicate themselves to a career in education before they even move their belongings into the dorms for the first time.
Students in the Golden Apple program have to commit to teaching five years at schools in need across Illinois. Participants receive scholarship money and attend summer institute programs for year-round training during college.
Frey and 174 other students in the Golden Apple Scholar 2014 class will soon start the long commitment to becoming a teacher. He sat down with reporter Stephen Di Benedetto to talk about being a Golden Apple Scholar.
Di Benedetto: Why did you pursue the Golden Apple?
Frey: I was applying for scholarships before then, but what really stood out about Golden Apple is the way they care for you. It helps ease the cost. But they also differentiate from other scholarships because they care for you academically. They have summer institute programs. They get you started before your freshman year almost, student teaching that most kids won’t get to do until their senior year.
For somebody to be exposed to that early on, it’s priceless.
Di Benedetto: When you got the acceptance call, what was your reaction?
Frey: I was excited. I called my mom, and she flipped, and then my whole family flipped; then the whole Facebook thing. It was an honor. It was cool.
Di Benedetto: Obviously this is an opportunity to pursue teaching. Why set your sights on that career?
Frey: A couple years ago, I didn’t even consider teaching as a possibility. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, and I would always take those career aptitude tests with my counselors, and they would always side me toward teaching because that’s what it would always come up with.
I never really considered it and then I started looking at what I was doing with the community. ... I started to think that I was more involved with kids than I thought and that maybe the aptitude tests were right. It seemed like a perfect fit.
Di Benedetto: What about interacting with kids do you enjoy?
Frey: They are innocent. They’re not mature enough yet, but they are very funny. You have to be around them for a while to understand the difference between elementary and middle school kids. There are so energetic, and that’s what I love.