BOONE — Appalachian State University graduate, Jenny Darcy, came one step closer to her lifelong goal of completing Montessori school training with a $2,000 grant from Philanthropic Educational Organization.
Darcy completed her undergraduate degree in elementary education at Appalachian State University in 2016. After graduating, she moved to Greensboro then to Wilmington to teach third and fourth grade. Having grown up in Boone, she found herself missing the mountains. In 2018, she decided to return to Boone and began teaching at Mountain Pathways School.
“This has basically been my lifelong goal,” Darcy said.
Mountain Pathways School is a Montessori school in Boone. Montessori school teachers require specific certification and training, Darcy said, which can be pricey, but she is passionate about the philosophy of Montessori schooling.
“When I was teaching in public school there was a lot more focus on the testing and what level the kids were at versus how can we help this child grow into the best person they can be,” Darcy said.
The parents at Mountain Pathways were eager to help Darcy afford the training. One of the parents connected her to PEO, an international women’s organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities for female students. PEO has supported women’s education with more than $300 million in merit and need-based grants and low interest loans.
“The whole group of women that I worked with, sisterhood is a perfect way to describe it,” Darcy said. "They’re all super kind people that helped me through every step of the process.”
Darcy’s award was made through PEO’s Program for Continuing Education. This need-based grant program is for women who wish to return to school to complete a degree or certification. The application process can take as long as five months.
The grant helped Darcy cover a portion of the tuition at the Center for Guided Montessori Studies.
“When I was awarded the money, I was shocked; it was so helpful and made me feel really good about continuing my studies to see that I have this type of support from my community.”