Some graduates give back by writing a check. Some graduates give back by volunteering their time. Mary Jane Ashley gave back by donating a goat.
Ashley, a recent teacher credential program graduate, sold her goat at the Southern California Fair for $1,000 and donated the proceeds to Partners in Education’s Sponsor a Future Teacher program.
Carolyn Melka, whose husband, John, is an alumnus, purchased the goat to show her family’s support for PIE and to recognize the work of family members who are teachers.
PIE has awarded $5,000 scholarships to more than 80 future teachers, including Ashley, to alleviate financial burdens they might have while completing their clinical practice.
“I think when someone shows me an act of kindness to help me in my time of need, it’s important for me to give back to help someone else in his or her time of need,” Ashley says.
Becoming a teacher was a second career for Ashley.
For 20 years, she ran her family’s pharmacy but sold it to take care of her mother. After her mother died, Ashley became a substitute teacher at the urging of friends, and a year later she enrolled in the teacher credential program.
Those who seek a teaching credential are required to spend 20 weeks in a classroom under the supervision of an experienced teacher. Many must work to support themselves and their families, which takes time away from planning lessons and grading homework. The exhaustion can be a major hurdle to success.
“I have a house of my own to support,” Ashley says. “I didn’t want to lose my house over a career change, so I was very grateful to have received the scholarship. Without it, I highly doubt I would have completed the course.”
Ashley received a teaching offer soon after completing the program last spring. She lives in Riverside, where she raises livestock, including goats.
In December, Ashley delivered a check for $1,200 to Dean Peggy Kelly of the College of Education and Integrative Studies. Alumni Bill and Michele Tracy, who also wanted to support PIE, donated the additional $200.