Rebecca Edmiston has had a number of inspiring music teachers in her life, including her mother Pat. They’re big reasons why Edmiston, a graduating senior from Lake Braddock Secondary School, is choosing to attend Liberty University and study to become a music teacher herself.
“It’s really important,” she said, “it helps kids with creativity, listening skills and helps in other subjects.”
Edmiston is one of seven recipients of scholarships given to aspiring teachers at June 11 meeting of the Fairfax County Retired Educators organization. The event took place at the Arlington-Fairfax Elks Lodge in Fairfax and featured opening remarks from Fairfax County superintendent Dr. Karen Garza.
Each of the scholarship applicants was considered based on their grade point average, rigor of course load, recommendations, essays and resume, including activities involving children or tutoring. Each of the scholarship winners was female.
“Our profession is basically a female profession,” said Fairfax County Retired Educators outgoing secretary Dr. Dennis Pfennig of Springfield. Pfennig taught at Hayfield Secondary School for 30 years and was chair of the social studies department for the last two-thirds of that time.
On the lack of male scholarship winners, he said, “Absolutely we’d like to see more.”
But according to the organization’s scholarship director Phyllis Rittman, very few males applied for scholarships and of those, none came close to the qualifications of the female winners.
“We want kids to go into our profession,” said Billie Johnson of McLean, who taught at W.T. Woodson High School for 31 years. “There’s a lot of ignorance out there, it never changes,” she said. “Education is the basis of our democracy.”
The Fairfax County Retired Educators provided $4,000 to the scholarship funding. Each scholarship is for $2,000. The retired educators budget for one eponymous scholarship each year, then if enough money is raised, they also award the W. Harold Ford scholarship.