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Denise Kranzer always wanted to be a teacher. She loved children, loved education, and loved being involved in her local school district. What she lacked, however, was the bachelor’s degree and the time and means to earn it.

Now, thanks to Grow Your Own Teachers, sponsored by the State of Illinois, Kranzer, of Monee, is graduating from Governors State University in June with her degree in elementary education and a chance to fulfill her dream.

Grow Your Own Teachers helps people with ties to the community become qualified teachers in local participating school districts. Participants receive forgivable loans to pay for tuition and fees, grant funds for transportation and childcare expenses, active support from fellow program participants, and the dedicated guidance of professors and school counselors.