Greene receives Head Start scholarship

Mar. 05, 2013 @ 06:32 AM

Aaron Greene, senior at Chase High School, is the recipient of the 2012-13 North Carolina Head Start Association Cluster E Scholarship.

“There are only four Head Start scholarships issued by the North Carolina Head Start Association annually. Cluster E includes Rutherford County and all of the counties west of it. Aaron competed against all the graduating seniors who applied from those counties,” said Genie McBride, Head Start Director for Rutherford County. “It was very competitive. This is the seventh year in a row that a student from Rutherford County has received this scholarship and Aaron is the eighth graduating senior of ours that received it. We have started quite a reputation.”

According to the NC Division of Child Development and Early Education, Head Start is a federally funded, comprehensive preschool program designed to meet emotional, social, health, nutritional and psychological needs of three and four year olds and their families. The scholarship is given to recipients based on a point system.

“The scholarship is awarded to a graduating senior who attended a Head Start program while in preschool. They give points based on if the application itself was complete,” McBride said. “He had to write an essay. I had the privilege of reading the essay he wrote and he writes quite well. He captured my heart and I was hoping he would do the same with the scholarship committee also.”

Aaron, who was enrolled in a Head Start program at the United Methodist Church in Rutherfordton at age three, was the only scholarship applicant from Rutherford County. According to family and friends, he has overcome many obstacles to get to where he is today.

“We put him in the Head Start program because we wanted him to get more socialization before kindergarten. When he was in preschool, they started noticing some differences in him and told us there might be some things going on. He was always off to himself and wouldn’t play with the group of children,” said Bruce Greene, Aaron’s father. “We took him to what was then the Developmental Education Center in Shelby and they decided he had delayed speech.”

Once he was diagnosed, Aaron qualified for speech and language services. He was moved to the self-contained classroom at the Carver Center before attending Harris Elementary School. Today, he excels at math and science and is taking several honors and AP classes at his high school.

“I like science and math. Math comes easy to me,” Aaron said.

Aaron used his experiences as a child as inspiration for his senior project he presented in the fall. For his project, he researched the different types of autism and raised $1,400, which he donated to Rutherford County School’s exceptional children’s program. The money was divided between the county schools that had autism classrooms.

“I think that Aaron will come back to our community after he graduates and I think he will have a lot to give back. He already started giving back with his senior project. He is a great young man,” McBride said. “He plans on working forever because he wants to give back to the community. His essay went on and on about how he will work until they make him retire.”

Aaron will be honored for receiving this scholarship at an awards banquet in Raleigh on Thursday, March 14.