After spending nearly 14 years in the Army, DeMarcus Credit, 35, was on a path to find his new mission in life. What he thought would be a career in law enforcement got derailed with an injury forced him to look for other options.
Volunteering at his daughter’s elementary school gave him a new sense of purpose. He found a passion for teaching kids. The school leadership kept inviting him back because they saw he had a gift with connecting with boys of color who needed a bit more guidance. Eventually he found himself at Northwest Vista College enrolled in Math for Teachers or Math 1350.
It was in this class he connected with NVC’s Dr. Mary Zocchi. She helped him prepare for a teaching video he had to submit to apply for the Charles Butt Scholarship for Aspiring Teachers. He was one of the few selected in the state.
Dr. Zocchi said she doesn’t know of any other student of hers at NVC who received the scholarship.
This hefty scholarship puts recipients on a fast track to getting their Masters of Teaching degree in just one year. To be eligible for the scholarship, students must be committed to teaching in a Texas public school that is majority-economically disadvantaged school (meaning more than 50% of students are eligible for free or reduced lunch) or in a shortage subject area (specifically math, science, bilingual, or special education).
While DeMarcus is honored for the scholarship, he said he must stay focus.
“I can’t celebrate until I graduate,” he said. “I went to a community college in 2005 and I didn’t take it seriously. Dr. Zocchi has been amazing. She has given me help outside the classroom to make sure I’m successful.”
DeMarcus had to go through a demanding, six-hour interview for the scholarship. Also, just last year, he earned a Bachelor of Science Cum Laude in Criminal Justice from University of Maryland Global Campus.
“My goal is to reach students earlier in life to let them know they can do well in school,” DeMarcus said. “I want to be where I can make an impact. After seeing how open students were when I was volunteering, I think they would like school more if they had teachers they liked and could relate to.”