Socrates said, “To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.” The last couple of years Teagan Gillam has come to understand that. The Eastern Guilford graduate didn’t know what they wanted to do with their life or really who they were until college. “I want to become a Jewish Day School educator,” Gilliam now says with certainty.

Just a couple of miles from Gilliam’s home at Guilford College is a spiritual home for the sophomore, Temple Emmanuel. “I got really involved my freshman year volunteering at the religious school, and it became a passion for me.” Gilliam works with 5th and 6th graders three days a week focusing on religious studies and Hebrew language. “Judaism clicked for me. Something in my soul felt right. I took to heart passing it down to the next generation.” The young educator found a mentor in Temple Emmanuel’s Dr. Karen Dresser. “She has been an amazing support system for me.” They are now double majoring in education and religious studies and on track to graduate in 2023. Gilliam is also considering pursuing a Master of Rabbinic Students.

Finding a path was one college challenge, paying for it was another. “College is very expensive, and I’m paying for college by myself.  All the out-of-pocket costs come from me.” Gilliam qualified for a Say Yes Guilford compact scholarship, drastically reducing their financial responsibility. “If it wasn’t for the Say Yes Scholarship I don’t know if I would have gone to college at all.” Money can’t buy wisdom, but it can buy peace of mind and open doors to a future. “I want to make an impact on the world; I want to make myself proud,” spoken like a person who knows themselves pretty well.