A Boost for Future Educators

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  • A Boost for Future Educators: Meet NEA's 2018 Jack Kinnaman Scholarship Winners!

With Kinnaman Scholarship, NEA-Retired members continue longstanding tradition of giving NEA Student Program members a helping hand 

At the time of his death in 2002, Jack Kinnaman was vice president of NEA-Retired, and had for years represented active and retired members in a variety of local, state and national Association positions. Kinnaman was also known throughout the National Education Association as the human inside of the Cat in the Hat costume, which appeared at NEA Read Across America events across the nation.

College affordability was an issue that was close to the late labor leader’s heart, and today the 450 NEA-Retired members who are gathered in Boston for the organization’s two-day Annual Meeting, honored Kinnaman’s legacy by smoothing the financial road for three members of the NEA Student Program. Each of the future educators will receive a Jack Kinnaman Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $2,500.

During her enthusiastic thank you to the retirees, Paige Wright, a history education major at the University of South Dakota, shared her six tips for living. They were: Be flexible; be kind; be the change; work hard; and worry about the outcome of education, not the income of education. Wright’s sixth tip—you might be retired, but you are not expired—brought rousing applause from the former educators.

When it was her turn to thank the group, Amethyst Stegbauer, a student at the University of Minnesota, said, “I have struggled a lot with money. My parents can’t really help me.”

Stegbauer, who works 40 hours a week on top of attending school, said she had become concerned about how she would continue to finance her education.

She learned she had received a Kinnaman Scholarship while on the University of Minnesota campus with her dad and a sister who plans to attend the school in the fall. “I was standing with my dad when I found out that I will be able to afford next year,” Stegbaurer told the retirees through tears.

“From the bottom of my heart, I sincerely adore the retired members … You are inspiring future teachers to be the incredible teachers you were,” Stegbauer said.

Megan Mellring, an elementary education student at Kansas State University, also received a Kinnaman Scholarship, but was unable to attend the event.

For application details on the Jack Kinnaman Scholarship Award, visit nea.org/home/16692.htm.

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