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First-Generation Educators Scholarship

2 winners, $1,000 each
Application Deadline
Mar 14, 2022
Winners Announced
Apr 14, 2022
Education Level
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
Must be a high school senior, undergraduate, or graduate student
Must be a first-generation student
Career of Interest:
Must be interested in becoming a K-12 teacher

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn,” -Benjamin Franklin.

Educators play a critical role in our society, leaving a lasting, powerful impact on the many students they teach each year. Educators can impart lifelong lessons on their students and can inspire children and teens to follow all of their education dreams. 

This scholarship seeks to support future K-12 educators so they can positively impact the next generation of students. 

Any first-generation high school senior, undergraduate, or graduate student who is interested in becoming a K-12 teacher may apply for this scholarship.

To apply, tell us what educator made the best impact in your life and what inspired you to go to college.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published September 27, 2021
Essay Topic

What educator has had the most positive impact on your life and why? As a first-generation student, what drove your interest in going to college?

400–600 words

Winning Applications

Angela Caron
Western Governors UniversityCovington, WA
My response and story are a little different than the narrative you usually see about a first-generation college student. The educator who had the most positive impact on my life was my boss, who was a Principal at an alternative high school while I worked in the office. He saw how hard I worked as both a Secretary and Interim Office Manager and nominated me for my school’s version of Employee of the Year at the end of his first year there. Afterward, he encouraged me to apply for a newly created position working in the classroom as support staff. I ended up applying for and taking the position of Learning Facilitator. It was that experience in the classroom that made me realize I wanted to become a teacher. Without his help and encouragement, I may have taken a lot longer to realize my potential for working directly with students. Because of him, I am now pursuing a Master of Arts in Teaching, Elementary Education. I know, it may not be typical for a first-generation University student to also be a career changer. To help better understand how that happened, I’ll explain a little bit about my parents. My Mom got a one-year certificate to become a secretary, which is what she did until she decided to stay home with me and my sister. My Dad received an associate degree before entering the field of construction. His hard work and commitment to one company led him to promotions, and he eventually became a superintendent. However, he saw the way the younger generation was receiving promotions - only those with college educations seemed to be eligible. So he and my Mom encouraged me to go to college right out of high school. I did. I earned my Bachelor’s degree the same week I turned 21, but I had gotten a degree I didn’t really know what to do with because I hadn’t known what I wanted to become at 18. In a search to find my true calling, I also enrolled in a paralegal training program so that I was prepared to work in the legal industry - and it would help give me insight as to whether I wanted to become an attorney. This led me to my first real job as a court clerk. It was a stressful position that made me thankful that I had not pursued a law degree. When the court closed, I saw it as an invitation to reexplore what direction I wanted my career to go in. At that time, I started working as the Data Secretary at the high school I mentioned at the beginning of this essay. Now, I am very excited to be going back to school to earn my initial teacher licensure so that I can begin working with students.
Melanie Burgos
Florida International UniversityHialeah, FL
Storybooks were a way to see the world through a more vibrant colored lens. I loved the way reading made me feel something. It connected me to fictional worlds and people whom I could relate to and find solace in. My love for reading came with the children's book my mom bought me. I would look forward to her reading them for me before bed, and beg her those nights she didn't want to. When I was old enough to start reading on my own, I would spend my time reading and looking forward to trips to the library. It wasn't until the 4th grade when I had the teacher that would let me unlock my imagination into the world it wanted to be. She stood 5ft tall, always wore the deepest shades, and had a vibrant personality. She had a love for creative writing and wanted the class to experience this love for it. I have to confess that I was nervous and frightened about this. It was hard to imagine turning in a paper for the school where I had creative freedom and never at that, would I have thought that even my ideas had a chance to be worthy. I wanted it to be perfect and gave it my all. I wasn't entirely confident in it but when I got to class, it was received so well; she had the brightest smile on her face. She hugged me and told me how proud she was. This moment was the first time I ever felt content with my work. We kept writing more creative stories throughout the year, and it had become easier for me to write them and each time they were better than the last. I loved this new way of writing for school; it made it exciting and I felt like I was getting the most out of school. Now in the 12th grade, I've had many English teachers, but none have been comparable to my 4th-grade teacher. She made the dullest of subjects interesting, she was passionate about what she taught, and related everything to moments in her life. This was the most I’ve ever gotten from an educator, and I hope that I can be as inspiring of a teacher as she was to me. As a first-generation student, college is one of the biggest accomplishments to achieve. I want to do this for my parents and show them that their efforts were worth it. All the restless nights when they would come home from work exhausted, they would do it all for my sister and I to have an education. I want to see the smile on their face and thank them for the difference they made in my life. Indeed If it wasn't for the hard work that they've endured, I wouldn’t have put as much effort into my school work as I do now. They give me a reason to work hard and mark my place in this strange world.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Mar 14, 2022. Winners will be announced on Apr 14, 2022.

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