The future looks bright for education if the Rockford Education Association Future Teacher Scholarship recipients are any indication. Competing against several qualified candidates, four young ladies were granted scholarships at the Honors Convocation Thursday, May 23 at Rockford High School. Two of them are planning careers in special education; the other two, in secondary education.
Kayla Brower, the daughter of Donna Brower, is heading to Central Michigan University in the fall to pursue her dream job: teaching special education. To prepare for her future in the classroom, this compassionate young lady has already dedicated much time to teaching and working with children. She helped to start a Special Olympics swim team in Rockford called S.O.A.R. and has coached the athletes weekly in preparing them for competition. Additionally, she has taught Sunday School to preschoolers, creating lesson plans, fun games, and songs that reinforce the lessons. While a student at RHS, Miss Brower participated in the marching and concert bands and the swim team for four years and ran junior varsity track for two years. She has also been a lifeguard and a swimming instructor. Someday, she hopes to teach overseas.
Shannon Kelley also plans to pursue a degree in special education. The daughter of Michael and Amy Kelley, she will begin her studies this fall at Grand Valley State University. Miss Kelley has been active in many organizations during her high school years, including Student Council, Impact Team, Peer Ministry, National Honor Society, and the Rockford Varsity Dance Team. She has taught dance to youngsters at Rockford School of Dance, and she has also been volunteered in the community at God’s Kitchen, Relay for Life, North Kent Community Service, and Habitat for Humanity. Miss Kelley has been placed successfully in many leadership roles over the years, including captain of the dance team and executive treasurer for Student Council. Her passion, talent, and dedication to the task will be a plus in the classroom.
Katherine Tasma, the daughter of Louis and Becky Tasma, plans to study Secondary Classical Education and English as a Second Language at Hillsdale College in the fall. Miss Tasma has been quite active in the Rockford High School drama programs in her time at RHS, as well as in the choir program and National Honor Society. She has the gift to command an audience when she is on stage, and this talent will help her greatly in working with high school students someday. Additionally, she has shown her compassion and desire to help others with her involvement in Relay for Life, Right to Life, church small groups and youth group and by volunteering at Degage Ministries, a domestic abuse center, and on mission trips to Guatemala, Toronto, and Grant, Michigan. She has a great empathy for others and uses that quality to make a difference in the world.
Tori VanOeffelen plans to study Secondary Education as part of the Ferris State University Honors Program in the fall. The daughter of Kelly Porter, Miss VanOeffelen will focus her studies on English education, a career she has been eager to pursue for “a long time.” To prepare for this endeavor, she took both advanced placement classes in English this year, as well as AP Spanish, and has always been in Honors English classes. She is a member of the National Honor Society (secretary) and Rockford Interact, has volunteered her time at such events as Relay for Life, the Santa Parade, Junior Auxiliary work with veterans through Rockford American Legion, and serving the lunch to the needy in Grand Rapids. Her work ethic and open-mindedness will be great assets as she pursues a career in education.