“I have seen students who are unmotivated for one reason or another, and I want to be their motivator,” explained Pitts. “I feel like it is my calling.”
This year, Pitts has been observing at Monmouth’s PASS Alternative High School, which put him on the right path toward choosing his specific area of concentration in education.
As one of the limited number of students selected as a Pathway Scholar by the Golden Apple Foundation, Pitts will receive a scholarship for his final two years at MC, as well as the opportunity to participate in summer programs at DePaul University. During this Summer Institute, Pitts and other Pathway Scholars can prepare for their future student-teaching experiences.
“If I hadn’t came to Monmouth, I wouldn’t have had the eye-opening experience about where I want to begin my life after college,” explained Pitts. “I have found a lot out about myself while at Monmouth.”
“It hasn’t completely hit me yet,” said Pitts of being selected for the program. “Once I get to the classes this summer, it will all soak in.”
Pitts was nominated by sophomore Edith Ramirez, a fellow Golden Apple Scholar.
“Dan said he wanted to inspire his students,” commented Ramirez. “I brought up the Golden Apple program and nominated him. It was a prestigious honor for me, and now him.”
Each year, the Golden Apple Foundation selects approximately 100 high school and college students from institutions throughout Illinois. Pitts and other nominees were required to complete an application, provide ACT scores and transcripts and write multiple essays. An interview process was also conducted to select this year’s group of Pathway Scholars.
“I’m truly honored to be selected as a Golden Apple Scholar,” said Pitts. “Being picked as one out of a hundred, from thousands of applicants in the state of Illinois, is a great feeling.”
Pitts hadn’t always known he wanted to be an educator, as he came to college thinking he would be a veterinarian. He then hoped to be either a physical therapist or a journalist.
“My dad (Peter Pitts, MC’s regional director of admission) encouraged me to take a few education classes, and I really liked it,” Pitts said of his ultimate choice.
The Golden Apple Scholarship Program, which began in 1989 and went statewide in 1993, awards a total of $28,000 per individual over four years. That sum is divided into installments of $5,000 per academic year and $2,000 for each of the four Summer Institute experiences. Monmouth College was selected to be a Golden Apple Scholar institution starting in 2000.