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Straive "Remembering Marva Collins" Scholarship

Funded by
Picture of the donor
1st winner$975
2nd winner$973
3rd winner$973
4th winner$973
Application Deadline
Mar 14, 2022
Winners Announced
Apr 15, 2022
Education Level
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
Undergraduate sophomore or junior
Career Goals:
Must have plans to become an educator

Marva Collins was a pioneer in education who was passionate about learning and spreading access to knowledge.

Collins founded the Westside Preparatory School in Chicago and enrolled children who had been considered “unteachable” or “problem” students. She employed unique methods to help her students succeed.

This scholarship aims to help Black undergraduate students who are pursuing a career in education so they can focus on their university training and be prepared to help their future students.  

Any Black college sophomore or junior who is planning to become an educator may apply for this scholarship

To apply, tell us about what inspired you to pursue a future as an educator.

The scholarship will have 5 winners:

1st Place - $2,000

1 Second Place - $1,000

3 Honorable Mentions - $500

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published December 15, 2021
Essay Topic

Marva Collins wrote, "Once children learn how to learn, nothing is going to narrow their mind. The essence of teaching is to make learning contagious, to have one idea spark another." Tell us about a moment or an idea that sparked your ambition to become an educator.

400–600 words

Winning Applications

Olivia Rose
Salisbury UniversityBowie, MD
Growing up, I always wanted to become an educator. For as long as I can remember, I was always able to see myself being a teacher. Both my parents are teachers, so me growing up to be an educator only felt right. Watching my parents build lifelong relationships with their students and their families, I just knew that I wanted to be a part of a community like that. If I had to pinpoint one moment that really sparked my ambition to become an educator though, it was probably when I was in first grade and I had an amazing teacher, Ms. Vereb. She always knew how to make learning fun and I really looked up to her as a person and as a teacher. Just like Marva Collins, Ms. Vereb ran her classroom with care. She was one of the most caring people I'd ever met and she always encouraged us to do our best. Not only did I feel that she genuinely cared, but I was always excited to go to school just because she was my teacher. To this day, several years later, she stands out in my memory as the most favorite teacher I've ever had. In my educational career when I have had some “not-so-great” teachers it and was the memories of Ms. Vereb’s class that reminded me to keep trying. I know from experience that “not-so-great” teachers can negatively impact students. Marva Collins inspired her students in the same way. Her impact on her students taught them perseverance and her story sparks the ambition in me to grow as a person to be the educator students need. As I matriculated to high school, I was selected to attend a specialty program designed for future teachers. I was given the opportunity to begin my college-level education classes as a high schooler and this gave me the opportunity to earn credits and experience professionally focused courses in school that would fuel my passion for teaching. That time investment led me to begin my time at a four-year university as a second-semester sophomore. These collective experiences have shaped my thinking and have ignited the motivation to serve just like Ms. Marva Collins and Ms. Vereb. The state of education today needs more people like them. Learners need caring teachers who can inspire hope and the next generation of teachers. The journey to becoming an educator has continuously opened my eyes to the realization that compassion fuels more learners than sometimes books. I can see myself growing in the field and eventually leading other educators for a long time. Educators like my parents are my biggest inspiration. They've always been my biggest support system and have always shown me how to use the tools I need to succeed. As a future educator, I'd like to do the same for my future students and help them find the tools for success and to be their biggest support systems. I'd like to be their Ms. Vereb and make such an impact on their lives that they remember me well into college and maybe even further down the line as well.
Willie Doyle
Kennesaw State UniversityStonecrest, GA
The most significant experience anyone can have is giving their time and resources to help another person. For the last seven years, I have been cultivating children's minds to inspire them to take their education into their own hands by tutoring students in math, coaching middle school robotics teams, and teaching at STEM summer camps. I believe access to STEM education can be a great equalizer in a world full of systemic problems and can fuel individual students’ quest for knowledge. In the Spring of 2020, I started Kennesaw State University and ended up not being able to teach because of the Coronavirus Pandemic. I spent the entire year looking for teaching opportunities, but with schools being closed and programs being canceled, I wasn't able to find any opportunities. The next year, Professor Alan Shaw, a computer science professor at Kennesaw State University, offered me a position as his Student Assistant and I helped create programs and curriculums for a research project he was involved in called The Algebra Project. The Algebra Project is a program that uses mathematics literacy as an organizing tool to guarantee quality public school education for all children in the United States of America. After a summer of teaching Game Development with Professor Shaw in the KSU SummerU program, I was hired by The Algebra Project to become a College Mathematics Literacy Worker. As a CMLW, I taught mathematics literacy to the students of Roberta T. Smith Elementary in Clayton County. There I learned that the education system needs all hands on deck. Seeing the teachers pick up the pieces after Covid and trying to teach children who haven't been to school in over a year because of the difficulties of the pandemic, personally speaks to me. As a student, I have had difficulties during the pandemic that affected my grades and concentration. I have learned that there can be other mitigating factors that affect students’ education. It motivated me to give my best as a Mathematics Literacy Worker and always exhibit grace and empathy to struggling students. Over the past few years, I have realized how much these experiences have impacted my life and how important they are to me. It started as a push to be a great big brother, but as time progressed, I started teaching more and talking to kids about their passions. Even though I loved computer science, showing kids things related to their desired subject was always a good feeling and seeing the students enjoy computer science and engineering inspires me to enjoy it for myself. My plan for my future is to continue teaching STEM and to inspire students to achieve their goals. I would like to give back to the communities that taught me so much to bring me where I am today.
Vanessa Williams
Abilene Christian UniversityAbilene, TX
Last year, in my freshman year of college as a Multimedia major, I was in my bed and scrolling through TikTok. I had come across this particular video that caught my attention. The setting seemed to be a high school classroom. In the video, I heard a woman’s voice shout, "I had already told you! You should know this; I should not have to repeat myself!” I assumed that she was the teacher. A quiet male voice responded, "But I just don’t understand…" She shouted louder, "Use your calculator!” This provoked the student to match her attitude, so he shouted back, "I don’t even know how to do that! I never understood how, and you move too fast!" "Ask your classmates!" "Why can’t you just explain it to me? You’re my teacher!" This conversation bounced back and forth, ending in the student giving up and walking out of the classroom. I felt a personal connection to his frustration, as I had also struggled in my math class. But what irked me was the teacher and how she responded. "Why couldn’t you just help him out? He just asked a question, and as a teacher, you have to answer!" I said this out loud as if she could hear me. I then decided to look through the comments to see if anyone else agreed: "She shouldn’t be a teacher if she’s yelling at her kids like that." "He finally got the courage to ask questions, and this is the response he gets?" "This is why I skipped class in high school…". I had realized that there are so many people who had been discouraged and pushed away from their passion for education. I felt upset. I believe that teachers have one of the most important jobs in the world! If I were the teacher, I would treat my students equitably and pedagogically, unlike the one in the video. I had always rejected the idea of becoming an educator because my mom was an educator who would always come home exhausted from teaching middle school kids. But I couldn’t stand hearing about people losing their love for learning because of experiences like this. I ended up scrolling through TikTok again. It was as if the app itself heard my thoughts because another teacher-related video popped up. A black male teacher seemed to struggle with a bundle of little children at his feet. He didn’t show their faces, but I heard them say, "Mr. Patrick!" in a Japanese accent. "Yes! How can I help you?" "Good morning!" They all said, misunderstanding his question. He laughed and said "Good morning! We’ll work on that." I later found out on his profile that he was a teacher in Japan, teaching young children the English language. "This was the type of teacher I needed in high school. You seem so patient," one comment said. "We need more teachers like you!" another comment said. I knew that those kids had a bright future ahead of them, but then I remembered the previous TikTok. Many people, including myself, didn’t feel that school was providing a safe space for students to freely ask questions and be comfortable in expressing themselves, as all schools should. I don’t want those kids from the second TikTok to lose their bright-eyed curiosity by the time they enter high school as many others did. Educators should spark the hunger for knowledge in every student they teach, no matter how old they are. As a student in the Early Childhood Education department, I know will make this new dream of mine become a reality.
Evette Harrell
Miami University-OxfordDelaware, OH
Perched at the end of a table, staring at each of us in turn with a newly opened can of La Croix in hand, he began to ask questions. “What are you trying to accomplish by asking this research question? Who cares about the answer? What are the real-world implications of your findings?” Then, after a moment of reflection, “What is your purpose? Not your "porpoise," like the mammals at SeaWorld, but your purpose,” he said. And with that, the thoughtful silence filling the room was sliced neatly in half as we got sidetracked by a joke we had all heard many times before. Somehow, it was still just as funny that time around because of the look on his face. That’s typical Mr. McKibben. At first glance, my former AP Seminar and AP Research teacher appears to be just another wise, intellectual teacher. Once you get the pleasure of experiencing his class, however, he becomes a teacher known for his cheesy, predictable jokes--and the way he randomly breaks into song in the middle of his teaching. While Mr. McKibben’s classes were without a doubt challenging, they were also rewarding, as Mr. McKibben is the epitome of an exceptional teacher. He not only reinforces his students' growth, he consistently works to further his own education, currently in pursuit of yet another Master’s degree to add to his previous theater, history, literature, and education majors and minors. Even when the expectations were high and the deadlines strict, I never heard a disrespectful word uttered against him. Mr. McKibben had our best interests in mind and was always happy to explain why the paper was due on Friday and not Monday. As a father and an avid reader, Mr. McKibben knows so much about so many diverse topics. Pick one--any one you like--because once you get him talking, he won’t stop until he reaches the end of the track his train of thought races down. Whenever he speaks, he’s mindful, thinking deeply before responding. Studying the ceiling during this brief pause, you can almost see the speech bubble above his head like the ones in comic strips. Even before Mr. McKibben, I loved to read and write, and my dream job was to be a teacher. With Mr. McKibben’s class came hard work, which merely served to reaffirm my goal. I realized that not only do I want to teach, I want to teach English and leave a “McKibben-sized impact” on my students. Junior year of high school, a scheduling conflict was the only reason I landed in Mr. McKibben's AP Seminar class. I didn’t think I would enjoy it, because for some reason, I thought research was boring. Well, boy was I wrong! AP Seminar ended up being my favorite class. Mr. McKibben changed my view on research, English--even the world at times--with the knowledge he shared. He pushed my limits and then encouraged me to take a step further; he taught my class how to think, develop questions, and consider as many perspectives as we could. I wouldn’t have half the research skills I have today without Mr. McKibben, and I DEFINITELY wouldn’t have decided to start my own undergraduate research during my first year in college. I have him to thank for inspiring me to not just pursue higher education, but take advantage of every opportunity to learn, grow, and make a difference. Class with Mr. McKibben was never boring or typical, that’s for sure. I don’t believe it ever will be either, because this is a teacher who has encountered and embraced his true "porpoise" in life.
Tateyana Rucker
Virginia Union UniversityHighland Springs, VA
My name is Tateyana Rucker I’m 26 years old and a non-traditional college student. The odds have always been against me, I’m a woman, I’m black, and I had my daughter at 15. Being told at 15 that you wouldn’t make it through high school is discouraging. In those moments I remember feeling defeated how could I fail myself, let my mom down, and most of all God. There was a moment when I realized that this may not have been the plan for me, but God was going to use this opportunity for his good. What got me through this period in my life was the support of my family and my high school counselor. The words of the enemy would not stop me from accomplishing the goals God set before me. I graduated high school early at 16 by taking double the course load and still participating in extracurricular activities such as band/ color guard, step, and more. Life can sometimes be complicated and get in the way and this slowed me down, but since then, I now have a 3-year-old son who is autistic and non-verbal. This has literally stretched me to do more and be more for my son. I am my son’s biggest advocate, and anyone can vouch for that. As a Christian I am firm in my faith. God gave me a vision through a profit, and he has literally paved the way for me through this whole process. I’m a black mother with a vision bigger than me, I believe education is the foundation for our success. After finding out about my son’s diagnoses I had just left school from a different program and came to Virginia Union University to pursue a degree in Special Education. I am a true advocate for my child, and I want to be for other families in my community, to build awareness for others. It’s so rewarding to see what my son’s ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) school can do for him to help him learn and develop. ABA is a type of therapy that can improve social, communication, and learning skills through positive reinforcement. My goal is to better education in not only the black community but in the special needs community for children with autism. I want to take it a step further than just a school for children with autism, my minor is in Social Work which would also give me background experience dealing with families. I would want to incorporate a parent advocate program for the moms and dads out there who need to be educated on their children’s conditions and how they can help and advocate for their children in school once they’re out of the program. To build education in the community is real change for the black community to be a part of building up young black children and being apart of the change is my true goal. I’m not doing this for me I’m doing this for everyone else, it truly means everything to me, and my sacrifices, determination, and resilience will help me accomplish these goals for my family and all the other families in my community so when the odds are against them, they can persevere. There is no black owned ABA learning center in Richmond, Va. I believe it would help our community in so many ways while building connections with many people in this community and other communities, it will bring more families of children with special needs to this area and create a safe place to be a part of something bigger while spreading awareness.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Mar 14, 2022. Winners will be announced on Apr 15, 2022.

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