Local third grader chosen as one of Tenn Under 10

Published 11:36 am Friday, May 5, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Shanna Hopland, a third grader at West Side Elementary School, is one of 10 Tennessee scholars under the Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation’s Tenn Under 10 initiative. Ten third graders were chosen as “Little Literacy Leaders” based on their ability to overcome hardships as they learn how to read.
Hopland’s was one of 143 applications submitted from educators in 37 counties, 42 school districts, and 90 schools across Tennessee. The 10 scholars were selected based on how they exhibit the four values of Tenn Under 10: tenaciously driven, eager to read, noticeably growing, and nonstop learner.
In addition to the post-secondary education scholarship, each honoree will receive books and resources to support their reading journey as well as recognition as GELF’s “Little Literacy Leaders” in their local community.
Hopland in receiving the recognition said, “I’m proud of myself for learning to read and I hope all kids will learn to read because I love books and I think they will, too.”
The students chosen for the award will receive a $1,500 post-secondary education scholarship through TNStars 529 account. Last month Gov. Bill Lee introduced the inaugural Tenn Under 10 class at GELF’s annual Literacy Alliance Dinner.
Tennessee public school districts and elementary schools nominated a student for Tenn Under 10 by submitting an online application on their behalf. The Tenn Under 10 “Little Literacy Leaders” are third grade students from communities across the state who have faced and overcome an obstacle impeding their literacy development, such as lack of access to learning resources, low-income, transitional family environments, language barriers and visual impairments.
“We are honored to introduce Tenn Under 10 and announce the inaugural class of Little Literacy Leaders,” said James Pond, GELF president. “These children represent what being a Tennessean means. Their stories inspire, motivate, and remind us how important it is to support Tennessee’s youngest learners on their journey from cradle to career, from a third grader to a future teacher, police officer, artist, author or business leader. Our mission to strengthen early literacy is more than books. It’s the future of Tennessee, and we are privileged to celebrate the next generation through the Tenn Under 10 initiative.”
The Tennessee Higher Education Commission reports only 52% of Tennessee’s high school graduates are pursuing post­secondary education upon graduation, a 17% decline since 2017. However, nearly 70% of high school graduates report that they want to attend college or a technical college.
Research shows students with college savings are approximately six times more likely to pursue post-secondary education, three times more likely to attend college and four times more likely to graduate than those without any college savings.
“As a national main street bank, PNC is committed to the communities we serve,” said Mike D. Johnson, PNC regional president for Tennessee. “We know that supporting Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation helps students overcome obstacles to gain access to rewarding careers in science, technology, engineering and math. It’s part of our promise to help everyone move forward financially. We are excited to collaborate with GELF to celebrate the success of our little literacy leaders to help build strong, vibrant communities.”
“I have never gotten a scholarship before and it is good to learn new things by reading and to keep getting better at reading,” said Lyam Tyson, a 2023 Tenn Under 10 Little Literacy Leader from Chattanooga, Tenn.
“Getting this scholarship means that I am working hard in school. It will help me go to college,” said Juan Pablo Mendez, a 2023 Tenn Under 10 Little Literacy Leader from Franklin, Tenn.
Monica Robbins, a Dyer County educator, talked about the positive effect the scholarship has had on Alli, one of her students. “After being introduced and celebrated at GELF’s special event, Alli came back to school eager to share her adventures with her 19 other classmates, but more importantly she came back with a message for them: ‘You can do it too! Never give up, just keep trying like I did!’ Because of this wonderful program and the scholarship provided, Alli will have the opportunity to attend college and continue to be the tenaciously driven, noticeably growing, and nonstop learner she is today.”
Holland said she wants to be a mom and an artist when she grows up. Her favorite book is “The Giant Hug.”
Other students chosen for the honor were: Alli Roberts of Holice Powell Elementary; Angel Arma of Power Center Academy-Hickory Hill; Jaida Murray, Robert Churchill Elementary; Juan Pablo Mendez, Johnson Elementary; Kaylee Strawn, Holladay Elementary Lilah Santoya-Chacon, Glenwood Elementary; Lyam Tyson, Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts; Raylee McKeen, Vena Stuart Elementary, and Sophia Johnson, Etowah Elementary.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox