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The first Halifax County teacher to be selected into the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership was recognized during Friday’s North Carolina State-Louisville as part of the university’s Educator Appreciation night.

Dawn Stokes is an eighth-grade science teacher at Enfield Middle STEAM Academy and earlier this year was honored as a Kenan Fellow.

As part of the evening honoring her, she received a game ball as a video capturing the moment was played on the Carter-Finley scoreboard.

The experience, she said, was, “Like something out of a fairytale. I can’t even believe it. They are not joking about the crowd and the experience at Carter-Finley. Just to be recognized, for my students and my school to be recognized, is a big deal. I will remember this game for the rest of my life – we all will.”

 Stokes is the first teacher from a Halifax County school to be selected for the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership, a professional development program for teachers based at N.C. State.  

In preparation for her big screen debut, Stokes said she elicited the help of her middle school students.  

“We practiced waving today,” said Stokes. “I told them, ‘Mrs. Stokes is going to be on the big screen at the N.C. State Football game, and you all have to help me with my wave.’ They were all so excited – it made me a little less nervous.”

Stokes was also joined on the field by representatives from North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives, Chris Nault, and Roanoke Cooperative’s Basil Williams, where she interned for three weeks as part of her fellowship requirements.

North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives has partnered with the Kenan Fellows Program since 2014 to connect local teachers with electric co-ops, and tie lessons taught in the classroom with real-world skills needed in the workforce. 

Stokes is the 11th Kenan Fellow to be hosted and mentored by a North Carolina electric cooperative.

Stokes serves as the school’s science department chair, eighth-grade team lead, and member of the school’s improvement team. She is among the 38 Kenan Fellows in the 2023-24 cohort across North Carolina.

“Stokes is passionate about integrating real-life experiences into her instruction to help her students see the connection between their community and the local workforce,” the fellows program said at the time she was named into the program.

Stokes said at the time, “My students need to know that the community they live in is rich in innovation and that they can be a part of that innovation. If I can somehow tie real life into my instruction in an authentic way, then I can win over my students. This fellowship will help me to help my students see the bigger picture and make me a better teacher in the process.”