Chelsye DeBoor has wanted to teach agriculture since high school, but it was starting to seem like an impossible goal. With student teaching and college coursework, DeBoor would have no income and very little spare time ¿ and would still have to shoulder living costs and tuition.
Then, a call gave her some uplifting news: she was one of 19 Partners in Education (PIE) scholarship recipients.
¿When I got that call saying congratulations, it was the biggest relief in the world,¿ DeBoor says. ¿I was thinking ¿6 months of bills with no job? There is no way I can pull this off.¿¿
At the sixth annual Sponsor a Future Teacher Scholarship Awards Dinner on Feb. 22, many of scholarship recipients expressed similar sentiments.
Teaching credential students face the unique challenge of completing unpaid student teaching requirements while still paying tuition fees and living expenses. The PIE Scholarship allows them to concentrate on teaching, rather take on another full-time job.
PIE, an advocacy group dedicated to supporting excellence in education, awarded 19 scholarships of up to $5,000 to students in the credential program who have demonstrated potential, a passion for teaching and financial need.
Recipients were also connected with an ¿ambassador,¿ or PIE board member who will serve as mentor and advisor over the coming year.
Vanessa Johnson, a recipient who has volunteered in classrooms since fifth grade, says her partnership with Cal Poly Pomona first lady Betty Ortiz, vice chair of PIE, is as important as the monetary award.
¿Not only did the scholarship provide me with financial stability, it also provided me with a support team,¿ Johnson says. ¿You guys have made a lasting impact on my life.¿
Four of the scholarships were made possible by a $100,000 donation from the Felzer family in honor of Alan Felzer, professor emeritus of electrical and computer engineering, who died in 2009. The donation will fund a total of 20 Alan Felzer scholarships over the next five years and continue his legacy of excellence in teaching.
¿Dr. Felzer had innovative ideas about his responsibilities as a teacher,¿ says
Dorothy Roberts, a member of the PIE board of directors. ¿He wanted students to investigate, to discover concepts for themselves, to be engaged.¿
Sue Johnson, chair of PIE, ended the dinner with a word of advice for the scholars.
¿You never know what difference you can make in a student¿s life,¿ Johnson said. ¿As a future teacher, never lose sight of that goal.¿
(Photo: Vanessa Johnson receives her scholarship at the PIE Scholarship dinner Feb. 22.)