Trailblazing Success: First “Grow Our Own” Scholarship Recipient Becomes A Certified Educator in Henderson County Public Schools

An image of Johanna Bosch-Diaz smiling for a photo in a classroom while standing next to a student in a desk.

HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. April 02, 2024– A scholarship program, funded by the Henderson County Education Foundation (HCEF), designed to retain current staff or motivate students to graduate and join Henderson County Public Schools as employees, has yielded promising results.

Johanna Bosch-Diaz was awarded a Grow our Own scholarship in May of 2022 while serving as an instructional assistant at Hillandale Elementary School and concurrently attending online classes at Grand Canyon University (GCU).

“When the email went out about the program, I was enrolled as a full-time student at GCU but my scholarship was not enough to cover my tuition in full,” she said. “I was working full-time as an instructional assistant at Hillandale as well as part-time as an Uber™ driver to cover living expenses.”

Bosch-Diaz said the Grow Our Own Program was a good opportunity to help supplement her financial obligations without sacrificing valuable time.

Following her graduation, Bosch-Diaz was hired in January 2024 as a full time English as a Second Language teacher at East Henderson High School, becoming the first Grow our Own scholarship winner to finish college and begin working as a certified teacher in the district.Johanna Bosch-Diaz leaning over a desk writing while helping a female student. The student is smiling in the desk.

While open to anyone, the Grow our Own scholarship aims to recruit Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) students (current and former) interested in a career in education, to train, develop and prepare to return to Henderson County to join the public school workforce. It also recruits current Henderson County Public Schools (HCPS) staff like Bosch-Diaz who are interested in a career in education, school counseling or social work to train, develop and remain in Henderson County and serve in the education workforce.

Currently, there are six recipients of the Grow Our Own scholarship program who are actively pursuing their educational goals.

“Ms. Bosch-Diaz exemplifies why the Grow Our Own program was created. We are so proud of her for reaching her goal of becoming a certified teacher and especially thankful that she chose to serve in Henderson County Public Schools. She is going to do great things,” said HCPS Superintendent, Mark R. Garrett. “We are  grateful to the Henderson County Education Foundation and their community partners for having the vision to provide this funding. As you can see, it is already paying off and will continue to help us secure the next generation of HCPS educators.”

Of her journey, Bosch-Diaz spoke about the challenges that she overcame to achieve her goal. “Having two jobs while being a full-time student was challenging, but thanks to this program, I was able to quit my part-time job and focus on completing my degree,” she said.

To support HCPS in its efforts to create a teaching and administrative staff that is consistent with the racial diversity of the student body, the Henderson County Education Foundation initiated the Grow Our Own Educational Assistance Fund in 2021. Management of the scholarship operates in partnership with a community coalition. Members include the Henderson County NAACP, True Ridge, local churches, HCEF board members, Blue Ridge Community College, HCPS educators, private citizens, individual and corporate donors.

Peggy Marshall, HCEF Executive Director, emphasizes, “The Grow Our Own initiative not only nurtures the next generation of educators in Henderson County Public Schools but also bolsters our community by keeping talented individuals local. Ms. Bosch-Diaz’s journey showcases the scholarship’s transformative influence, empowering her to advance her education, elevate her earning potential as a certified ESL teacher, and remain rooted in Henderson County.”

To learn more about the Grow our Own Scholarship or to make a financial contribution, visit