While it takes most people several years — perhaps even a whole lifetime — to find their passion in life, Zoe Zigler found her calling at the young age of four.
It was in preschool, Miss Zigler says, that she first knew she wanted to be a teacher.
“I’ve known that I wanted to pursue teaching since I was four,” the Arcadia High School senior says.
“I don’t remember how I knew that at the time, but at preschool graduation, I have a video of myself standing up in front of everyone saying that teaching is what I want to do when I grow up. I haven’t changed my mind for a second.”
To help achieve this goal, the Scottsdale Charros have awarded Miss Zigler one of their two future teacher scholarships, worth a total of $20,000 over her four-year academic college career. Since 1999, The Charro Foundation has awarded in-state scholarships to outstanding Scottsdale Unified School District high school seniors who plan to pursue a career in teaching.
“When I first heard that I received the Charros scholarship, I at first didn’t believe it (much like when Harry Potter was told he was a wizard), and then I started tearing up,” she said, in hearing the news that she was one of two SUSD seniors to receive the award.
“I was so flattered that I was chosen for this wonderful scholarship, and that people could see that my heart is in teaching. I was in total shock and so grateful.”
Miss Zigler’s heart certainly is in teaching, and she has plans to attend Norther Arizona University next fall to study Special and Elementary Education, with a minor in Psychology. In addition to being a stellar student, Miss Zigler has been playing the cello for seven years and is the second chair in the school orchestra.
“I would love to teach first grade, I actually always thought that I would want to teach kindergarten, but after being lucky enough to have the opportunity to help at Tavan Elementary School, I saw that first grade is a crucial year in kids social, emotional and educational development,” Miss Zigler said. “With that being said, I would love to be there to help them in every possible way.”
Miss Zigler says her choice in major and minor at NAU was sparked through her time working with Tavan Elementary School students.
“I chose these majors because first grade is a year when many learning disorders start to show, and I want to make sure that these kids can get the help they need to keep their relationship with learning fun,” she said.
Throughout her own life, Miss Zigler says there hasn’t been one source, which inspired her on her future path, but several areas where she gained insight.
“I don’t think I have had one source of inspiration for teaching,” she explained. “I have been inspired by all of my amazing English teachers in high school, one who I was lucky enough to have for two years; I have been inspired by teachers whose teaching style doesn’t work with mine; I have been inspired by kids in classrooms who come up with the most creative ideas.”
Overall, Miss Zigler says her goal for her future is to help students in any way she can.
“I want to ensure that they are in a creative learning environment that pushes them to think outside the box. My goal as a teacher is to provide them with a learning environment that is safe, accepting, fun and challenging,” she said.