Hill Sisters in Early Childhood Education at MHEC

Hill Sisters in Early Childhood Education at MHEC

Andrea Byerly
Tuesday, September 12, 2023 12:00 AM
Press Releases, All, Academics

CLEVELAND, TN - Cleveland State freshmen, Mackenzie and Morgan Hill, are one of four sets of twins taking classes at the McMinn Higher Education Center (MHEC) in Athens. Graduating from McMinn County High School in May, the sisters earned 15 credits with dual enrollment classes before starting Cleveland State.

Tennessee Promise scholarship students, the Hills are both Early Childhood Education majors. Working as babysitters while in high school, they knew that early education was their calling. Both sisters hope to be teachers in kindergarten to 2nd grades.

The Hills share the same class schedule taking two classes at MHEC and two classes online. They work individually on classes, but Mackenzie said, “We come together if we get confused to help each other with thoughts and ideas.”

Cleveland State Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education, Winona Christiansen, said, “The Hills are wonderful to have in the Introduction to Teaching class. I am excited to see what their future holds here at Cleveland State and in our program.”

The Education Career Community at Cleveland State offers four degree options for students, and all four degrees are available at the Cleveland campus, at MHEC and online.

*Associate of Science (AS) in Education is a general two-year degree that prepares students for teaching kindergarten to 12th grades.
*Associate of Science (AS) in Early Childhood Education is a new two-year degree that prepares students for teaching pre-k to 3rd grades.
*Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Early Childhood Education is a two-year degree that prepares students for teaching birth to 3rd grades
*Early Childhood Education Technical Certificate is eight early childhood education classes that prepare students to work with young children. The certificate is embedded in the AAS degree.

The majority of students continue on to pursue a bachelor’s degree at a four-year university and earn a teaching license.  

“Every early childhood education class at Cleveland State has some type of field experience,” said Margaret Horten, Education Career Community Director. “One example is the Family Dynamics class; the students go to a cultural grocery store so that they begin to learn how a child feels when they come in and speak no English in the classroom.”

Morgan stated, “I’m excited about my teaching classes, improving how to teach and learning how to go on from here.”

The Athens Civitan Club awarded both sisters the Allison-Doak Scholarship, and they received the Principal’s Ambassador Scholarship for Cleveland State. The Hills were members of the National Honor Society in high school as well as the Athens Area Youth Council. Continuing that service mindset, they have already been invited to join the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society at Cleveland State.

Elizabeth Talkington, McMinn County High School teacher, said, “I was honored to teach Morgan for four years. She is extremely hardworking and strives to better the world around her. Mackenzie served as president of Family, Career, Community Leaders of American (FCCLA) and is a wonderful leader. She is kind, compassionate and selfless.”

The Hills plan to graduate in December 2024 and transfer to a four-year university to pursue their goals of becoming teachers for kindergarten to 2nd grades.

For more information about the Education Career Community at Cleveland State, contact Margaret Horten, mhorten@clevelandstatecc.edu or (423) 473-2371.


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