First TEACH graduate: Jessica Cerone's education career is on a fast track

Wednesday, May 18, 2022
Written by: Seminole State Staff

Jessica Cerone is the first graduate of the TEACH program, an educational program designed to grow Seminole County teachers from local high schools.

The program was created through the partnership of Seminole State College of Florida, the University of Central Florida (UCF) and Seminole County Public Schools (SCPS) to fill teaching positions in the school district. Cerone is the first graduate of the program, where she got her Associate in Arts by dual enrolling at Seminole State while taking classes at Seminole High School before transitioning to UCF to complete her bachelor's degree. While at UCF's Teaching Academy, she interned at Idyllwilde Elementary where she teaches today.

What inspired you to be a teacher?

My teachers, especially from Layer Elementary. I had a really great experience there, but I really think that the love for learning that was established in me through my teachers really pushed me to keep going even when I faced challenges. I just always loved kids and it was just something always on my heart and I really felt called to teaching. 

Why did you decide to join the TEACH program?

I like the idea of coming back to do something for the community that helped me. 

Jessica Cerone.

I really enjoyed my experience in Seminole County schools. I felt like I graduated prepared to go to college and to complete college like I obviously have done. So I like the idea of coming back to do something for the community that helped me. 

What was it like doing dual enrollment at Seminole State?

My junior year I took four classes at Seminole High School and then I was taking three classes at Seminole State. So I actually left after my four classes in the morning. I left Seminole High School and would go to Seminole State. I don't think I was really treated differently because of my age by other professors or the other students. They just look at me as any other college student. Whenever there were pep rallies, homecoming, prom, I went to all those things, so I was able to go with my friends. I really never felt left out by that. It was exciting. I'd finished class at Seminole State and then be like "Oh, there's still time for the pep rally!" and drive right back up for it and hang out with everyone. So I still feel like I got to experience better parts of high school, the more fun parts of high school anyways. 

How was the transition to UCF?

Jessica stands holding her graduation cap. She is wearing a black dress and is smiling at the camera.
Jessica Cerone

Of course, UCF is a larger campus and everything, but what's nice is pretty much all myteacher classes were in the Teaching Academy, so there was kind of one building and there was a parking garage right next to it. My advisors at UCF were also really great at helping me adjust. Luckily the credits definitely transferred very well over from Seminole State to UCF, so that wasn't too complicated either. 

How was the transition to having your own classroom?

Yeah, that was definitely intimidating for sure. I mean, it helped that I was familiar with the school because it was one that I interned at, but it was intimidating. It's definitely feeling more like home now for sure. I mean, of course there's still more to adjust to, but the support that is at the school is phenomenal. I feel very supported. If I need to cry, if I need to laugh at someone, if I just need to vent, I know that there is someone here that I can go to. I can say I love coming to work, I'm doing the job I want to do. 

What advice would you give students considering the TEACH program?

If teaching is something that interests you, you should just become a part of the program. I mean, if it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out if you take a different route. There are so many benefits to being a part of it, if that's what you continue to do. If you find yourself really passionate about that, it's worth it to go for it.

About Seminole State College

Seminole State College of Florida, established in 1965, serves nearly 30,000 students across six sites in Central Florida. A comprehensive college, Seminole State has awarded more than 100,000 credentials, from bachelor's degrees to high school diplomas, and offers more than 200 degrees, certificates and programs designed for success. For more about the college, visit
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About Seminole County Public Schools (SCPS)

Seminole County Public Schools (SCPS) is the 12th largest school district in Florida and is 60th nationally with more than 67,000 students and 10,000 employees. SCPS is a leader in education throughout Central Florida and the State and is widely recognized as a Premier National School District.