“I always wanted to be an elementary school teacher, even before I started school,” Lynsey Sharpstene remembers. Her sister was three years older, and Lynsey would ride with her mom to pick her up each day.” I thought school was the coolest thing, and that’s when I decided that I wanted to be a teacher.”

The aspiring educator loved school from the very start, watching each teacher carefully and taking note of the qualities that made a good teacher, great. “In 2nd and 3rd grade I had a teacher; her name was Ms. Richardson at Pilot Elementary. She was always so nice to everybody, and she would teach things different ways to different students depending how they learned best.” Lynsey encountered more inspiring teachers as she continued in Guilford County Schools, connecting with two special teachers at Ragsdale. “I had Mr. Gardiner, and he was the first teach that I ever had who put an emphasis on mental health. And I had Ms. Murphy. She was so passionate about teaching AP Gov and she just got so into it. They helped me get an idea of what kind of teacher I want to be.”

Lynsey was in the Ragsdale gym in September 2015 when Say Yes announced it was coming to Guilford County. Two and a half years later, she realized exactly what that meant. “It helped me get through my first whole year of college debt free, and I didn’t have to take out any loans. I get to focus more on my school instead of worrying about debt,” she says.  

 She calls the past three years at Appalachian State “life-changing” and is staying on track toward her dream. Now one year from graduation, Lynsey is ready to be the kind of teacher who cares, inspires and fights for her students, and she plans to do it right here in North Carolina.