Photo of Ron Laeder
Ron Laeder, Chair of the Scholarship Committee, reads information about our award winner, Taylor Huggins.

Our chapter held its annual Scholarship Dinner on May 4 at Gilbert & Blake’s in Okemos. This year we awarded our Prospective Educator scholarship to Taylor A. Huggins. Taylor is a 2017 graduate of South Haven High School, with a 4.145 GPA. Taylor’s father, Darrin Huggins, accompanied her to the dinner.

Taylor participated in the Cadet Teacher Academy through the Van Buren Technology Center during her junior and senior years. Through this program, she had the opportunity to work in first-, third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade classrooms. In her letter of recommendation, her Cadet Instructor/Coordinator Sheri Johnsen commented that “she possesses great internal motivation and has an innate ability to connect with her students and the staff like she has been teaching for years. Taylor is what I would call a ‘natural’ and the mentor teachers she works with are amazed at her integrity, responsibility, and most importantly her desire to change lives and help all children learn.”

Taylor served as the secretary and vice president of the student council at her high school and was a member of the tennis and cross-country teams. She also participated in Family, Careers, and Community Leaders of America and provided instruction on self-worth and anti-bullying to fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-grade students. She was a member of the National Technical Honor Society and the National Honor Society, a Girl Scouts Daisy and Brownie Troop Leader, and a coach for Girls on the Run.

In her essay, Taylor emphasized that “successful and effective teachers are able to work beyond curriculum standards. They express enthusiasm and overcome stereotypes to create a nurturing environment.” She also expressed a goal of connecting with each student and working to create strong relationships based on mutual trust with both students and parents. Taylor will be attending Albion College in the fall to study elementary education.

Be sure to check our website pdkmi.org for the 2018 Scholarship Application, which will be available in January, and encourage any qualified high-school or college students to apply. The application deadline is March 1, 2018.

Photo of Dr. Wei Gu and Taylor Huggins
Dr. Wei Gu, Scholarship Co-chair, presents the award certificate to Taylor Huggins.
Photo of Taylor Huggins and her father, Darrin Huggins
Taylor’s father, Darrin, accompanied her to the awards dinner.

The State of Michigan Chapter 1607 of Phi Delta Kappa awards up to two $1,000.00 scholarships each year to high school or undergraduate students seeking a career in education. For more information and the application form, visit our Prospective Educator Scholarship page.

Please share the application form with students who are planning to become future educators in our schools: high school seniors or college undergraduates. Promote this opportunity with those in your area who can let students become aware of our State of Michigan PDK Chapter 1607 Scholarships. We would like to see applicants from all areas of Michigan. The deadline for the scholarship application this year is March 1, 2017.

At our chapter’s annual awards dinner on May 4, we honored three outstanding students. Cierra Crawley from Detroit Martin Luther King Jr. High School received our Foundation Scholarship of $1,000. Kayla Mantey from Spring Arbor University and Joshua Shank from the University of Michigan-Flint were the recipients of our chapter scholarships of $1,000 each.

Cierra Crawley with Dr. Cynthia CockerelCierra Crawley graduated from Martin Luther King Jr. High School in Detroit with a 3.62 GPA, despite the challenge of limited access to technology and the need to use flawed public transportation. She is now enrolled at Michigan State University, planning to study Secondary Education with a major in Social Sciences and a minor in Psychology. With a commitment to her goal to become an educator and work in an urban school environment, Cierra set upon her career path by volunteering to tutor underclass students at her high school.

Cierra credits her success to date to her principal, Dr. Deborah Jenkins; her counselor, Denise Barnes; and Mrs. Nesbitt, her English teacher. She believes that she can make a difference in the field of education by helping future students who have had life experiences similar to hers. Cierra also believes, as stated by Dr. King, “the function of education is to teach one to think intensively, and to think critically. Intelligence is character, that is the goal of true education”.

Kayla Mantey with Dr. Wei GuKayla Mantey, a graduate of Armada High School, is currently a senior music education student at Spring Arbor University with a 3.9 GPA. A gifted signer, Kayla participates in the school’s choir and honors program, and works in the A-V department. She co-directs a home school choir, worked as a counselor at a summer camp and volunteers at her church.

Kayla wants her classroom to have an inviting atmosphere where students know and feel comfortable with one another. She wants students to look forward to choir as a chance to sing beautiful music with friends, increase their self-confidence and worth, and leave in a better mood than the one with which they entered.

Joshua Shank with Ron LaederJoshua Shank is a senior at the University of Michigan-Flint (3.85 GPA) who plans to be a secondary education French teacher. He is a graduate of Lakeville High School where he studied both French and Spanish. During his high school years, he was dually enrolled at the University of Michigan-Flint and Mott Community College. He has worked as a French tutor and in a small business to pay for his school expenses.

His high school French teacher’s passion for foreign language and dedication to her students influenced Joshua’s decision to become a teacher. He believes that by teaching students a foreign language, they not only learn a new language, but it helps them to broaden their cultural tolerance, eliminate any stereotypes and prejudices they may have and think critically. Joshua looks forward to sharing his passion for French with his students and helping them become empathetic, tolerant, critical thinkers and positive members of society.

Be sure to check our website pdkmi.org for the 2017 Scholarship Application which will be available in January and encourage any qualified high school or college students to apply. The application deadline is March 1, 2017.

Congratulations to the three students who received the State of Michigan Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa (PDK) scholarships this year. The scholarships were awarded at our Annual Dinner held at Gilbert and Blake’s restaurant in Okemos on May 6.

Anna Bensel and Nicholas Iveson were awarded the chapter scholarships ($1,000) and Brianna Jones was awarded the Chapter Endowment Scholarship. Nick also received the Edna Wilhelmina Snell Nichols Endowed Scholarship from PDK International.

Anna Bensel
Anna Bensel
Anna Bensel is a graduate of Grand Ledge High School and just completed her fourth year of college at Cornerstone University with a 3.98 GPA. She completed two teaching practica last year  – one in a high school ESL classroom and the other at a charter academy, helping to teach Spanish to 4th, 5th and 6th graders. This fall, Anna is completing her student teaching in Spanish at Hudsonville High School and Baldwin Street Middle School (Hudsonville). She spent a semester studying abroad in Quito, Ecuador and has volunteered on several mission trips – one to Jamaica and one to the Quad cities area.

Nick Iveson
Nicholas Iveson
Nicholas Iveson graduated this year from Thornapple Kellogg High School with a 4.077 GPA. While in high school, Nick participated in the Teacher Cadet program and assisted in a middle school math classroom. He was a three-sport (football, wrestling and baseball) athlete and was also involved in Student Council, Young Life, National Honor Society and Teens against Tobacco. Nick is attending Central Michigan University this Fall.

Brianna Jones graduated from Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School in Detroit with a 3.517 GPA. Her principal, Dr. Deborah Jenkins, and school counselor, Ms. Denise Barnes who accompanied her to the dinner, recommended Brianna for the scholarship.

We extend our congratulations and good luck to these future educators.