Future Reflections Convention 1994, Vol. 13 No. 4

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THE SCHOLARSHIP CLASS OF 1994

Reprinted from the August-September, 1994, Braille Monitor.

The task of the National Federation of the Blind Scholarship Committee is never easy. During the spring, members must pore over many hundreds of scholarship applications to choose the group of finalists, who will attend the convention to compete for the various awards. Then during convention week, when there are always at least five things one wants to do with every free moment, they must find the time to get to know each of the twenty-six winners in order to make the final judgments in the competition. This year the job was particularly difficult. The Class of '94 is talented and energetic. A number of its members are already active in the Federation, and during the convention many others began to demonstrate deep interest in and personal response to our philosophy and commitment to changing what it means to be blind. This is what Peggy Elliott, Chairman of the Scholarship Committee, had to say to and about the members of the Class of '94 at the Wednesday, July 6, banquet as she presented scholarship certificates to each person:

The word change is much used these days. To me change is a slippery word. Change can be good or bad. It can be change backward or change forward. We in the National Federation of the Blind, for example, say, "We are changing what it means to be blind." We know the direction of that change; it can't get any worse; it can only get better. But this afternoon Dr. Jernigan described another kind of change, the change in literacy among blind people-that change brought about inadvertently by mainstreaming, sending literacy down for blind people. That is not positive change.

A better word than change is progress. Progress implies going in a deliberately chosen direction toward a specified goal. Since 1940 the National Federation of the Blind has brought about steady progress in the condition of the blind by knowing what we want; by ourselves devising the means for getting it; and by gaining strength by doing the job ourselves, doing it well, and taking pride in the doing.

Likewise, this year's twenty-six scholarship winners are all on steady courses of progress. Each one has chosen education as a necessary tool that he or she needs in order to achieve his or her goals. Each of these scholarship winners aspires to certain goals. Some of them will achieve the goals they now seek. Some, along their paths, will choose to change their goals. But as you will see from the twenty-six scholarship winners this evening, each of them is making progress. Each of them is changing his or her life for the better, and by doing so each of them helps to further the progress of all blind people toward freedom. I'm about to introduce to you the twenty-six scholarship winners. Let me begin by saying that each of them has a distinguished academic record. Most of them have a grade point average that could be described as "3.9 something." So I'm not going to say they are academically distinguished over and over again-you can take that statement as applying to all of them. I'll tell you a little about each as he or she comes forward to receive his or her certificate. I do want to mention though that most of the donors of most of the scholarships are here in this room tonight. A few of our scholarships were endowed by wills or by people who are not here. But all of the scholarships named National Federation of the Blind are given by you and me-the people in this room and those thousands of Federationists who weren't able to join us tonight but who are long-standing members of the National Federation of the Blind. I will now begin, ladies and gentlemen, to introduce to you the twenty-six scholarship winners and to tell you what each has won.

The first category is National Federation of the Blind Scholarships. Each of these particular scholarships is in the amount of $2,000, and there are eight such scholarships.

Shane E. Buresh, Nebraska, Nebraska: Shane aspires to be a teacher. Next year he'll be a junior at Peru State College in Nebraska, where he's studying in the curricula of both education and mathematics. His goal is to be a secondary math or possibly a teacher of special education in the public schools. Shane also serves as a newspaper columnist for his college newspaper and competed in a statewide competition of newspaper columnists in which he won second place. He's also a senator in his college senate, and he has participated in several state and national conventions of the National Federation of the Blind.

Joseph Bradley Drenth, Michigan, Michigan: Joseph has just graduated from Petoskey High School, which he describes as six hours north of here, still in the State of Michigan. He'll be a freshman in the fall at Michigan Technological University, where he intends to earn a degree in electrical engineering and computer science. His goal is to go on through to graduate studies, where he wants to study bio-engineering with an emphasis on brain and neuro-intercommunications involving electro-chemical voltage variances! I'm not kidding. Joseph began to lose his sight only a couple of years ago. He's a National Merit Scholar, and he's also an avid gardener-even six hours north of here.

Randall S. Horwitz, New York, New York: Randy has just completed his first year at Rochester Institute of Technology, where he is earning a B.S. in computer science. Randy intends to work in the field of computer programming. He was also recently elected to serve as President of his local Hillel chapter, the international Jewish organization for students.

Patricia Lawson, Texas, Texas: Patricia will be a sophomore in the fall at Houston Community College, where she is earning an A.A. degree in mental health and social work. Patricia intends ultimately to earn an M.S.W. and become a licensed professional counselor. Patricia has been a member of the Houston Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind for eight years. She works now full-time at the Houston Lighthouse for the Blind in the social services department and is attending school full-time at night.

Latonya Phipps, Maryland, Georgia: Latonya will be a sophomore in the fall at Spelman College, where she already has one year under her belt. She is working towards a B.S. in psychology. She would ultimately like to earn a Ph.D. in psychology and have her own practice. She would also like to have a Ph.D. in African-American literature. She'd like to work part-time as an English professor and full-time as a psychologist. Latonya has been a freshman member of the class council. She is a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and she also served as a judiciary representative for her class. Latonya knows what discrimination is firsthand since her French professor told her that he didn't know what she was doing there, because she obviously couldn't perform. She proved him wrong.

Chester Paul S'groi, California, California: Chester will be a senior in the fall at Humboldt State University in northern California. He's simultaneously earning a B.S. in psychology and a B.A. in religious studies. Chester's goal is to be ordained as a Roman Catholic priest.

Jeffrey J. Treptow, Arizona, Arizona: Jeff is now working at Phoenix Community College toward an A.A. in office automation. He intends to get employment in word processing and ultimately become a supervisor. I want to read to you a few sentences from Jeff's application letter. I think it's one of the, well you will see what I mean: "During the past nine years, I have worked in a sheltered workshop for the blind, Arizona Industries for the Blind, doing basic production work for substandard wages. In May of 1992 I was laid off and tried to find other work. However, I was not able to find other work because of my lack of education and computer skills. I have been a member of the Phoenix Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind for approximately two years. I honestly believe that the only way out of sheltered workshops is through better education. They only want the blind to work in sheltered workshops and do menial labor. This scholarship certainly would be a great help to me and insure the fact that I will not have to return to sheltered workshop employment. The state rehabilitation agency does not want to help the blind get a better education. They only want the blind to work in sheltered workshops and do menial labor."

The next scholarship winner, unfortunately, though she has been with us throughout the convention, is not here this evening. She has been felled by a combination of infections, and I'll read her scholarship to you and will convey it to her at another time.

Elizabeth Anne Winterstein, Illinois, Illinois: Elizabeth will be a sophomore at the College of St. Francis in the fall. She is earning a B.S. in psychology, hopes ultimately to earn a Ph.D., and wants to counsel children and adults with vision loss. She says to us that her true passion is public speaking, which many of us can appreciate, and that she has been active in Illinois state Republican politics.

The next scholarship is the Hermione Grant Calhoun Scholarship in the amount of $2,000. As many of you remember, this scholarship was endowed by Dr. Isabel Grant in memory of her daughter. Dr. Grant traveled internationally sometimes, I think, more than she stayed in the U.S. of A. This scholarship goes to:

Christine L. Gravinsky, Alaska, Colorado: Christine has completed two years of her baccalaureate studies at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, where she outgrew them. She has now moved to the University of Northern Colorado in Ft. Collins, where she'll start her junior year. She intends to get degrees in German and Spanish. She wants to interpret and translate with fluency in a minimum of seven European languages. You can see how she outgrew the University of Alaska at Fairbanks.

The next scholarship is the Ellen Setterfield Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $2,000. This scholarship is restricted to people studying in the social sciences, and the donor prefers a graduate student. We didn't happen to have one this year, so the scholarship goes to:

Jennifer Ranee Koch, Wisconsin, Minnesota: Jennifer will be entering her senior year in the fall at the University of Minnesota, where she is pursuing a bachelor's degree in English as a second language. She wants to be a teacher of English as a second language, and her discipline is Chicano studies. She's a woman of broad interests, working in Habitat for Humanity, volunteering in nursing homes, and working with retarded adults. She is a member of the Twin Cities Chapter and a member of the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota Board of Directors and has helped with fund raising for that organization. She also helped to organize a new chapter in Austin, Minnesota.

The next scholarship is the Kuchler-Killian Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $2,000, endowed in loving memory of Junerose Killian's parents. Junerose, of course, and all the Killians are always here. This scholarship will be given to:

Joel Steven Zimba, West Virginia, West Virginia: Joel will be a junior at West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia, in the fall, where he is earning a bachelor of science degree in computer science. To tell you a little more about Joel, he plans to make his career in the area of making software applications useful to and friendly to people with no computer knowledge. He also plays electric guitar, chess, and the game Dungeons and Dragons.

The next scholarship is a new one this year, endowed by a person who has shown much interest in the blind community over the years, endowed by Mr. Ray Kurzweil in the amount of $2,000. The Kurzweil Scholarship will go to:

Lisa Genevieve Connor, Hawaii, California: She is a high school senior right now and has just completed her work in Hawaii Preparatory Academy. In the fall she will be a freshman at Stanford University, and hers is my favorite discipline. She is going to earn a B.S. in symbolic systems. Lisa is then going to earn an M.B.A. and work in the business field with computers. For six years Lisa has been a member of the National Federation of the Blind. Remember, this is a graduating high school senior. She currently serves as Second Vice President of the National Federation of the Blind of Hawaii. I want to tell you that her mother is also a long-time member and is also attending this convention.

The next four scholarships are National Federation of the Blind scholarships, each in the amount of $2,500.

Robert David Berry, Nevada, Nevada: Dave is currently in his senior year, working toward a bachelor's of social work degree at the University of Nevada at Reno. He intends to complete his B.S.W. and work towards an M.S.W. He also intends to do private counseling with young adults, adolescents, and children doing grief therapy. David is President of our Carson Valley Chapter. He was recently elected to a seat on the Board of the National Federation of the Blind of Nevada, attended his first D.C. Seminar this year, and is a single parent of two children, one of whom is blind.

Nancy Lorraine Feldman, Oregon, Oregon: Nancy will be a junior in the fall at the University of Oregon. She has just completed work at Chemeketa Community College and is going on to the University of Oregon, where she is going to earn a B.S. in psychology. Her goal is to earn a master's in psychology or whatever she needs in order to become a clinical psychologist. Nancy is also a single parent of two daughters. She is a member of the Lane County Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind. She is an equestrian and before her current career has marketed books, computers, and software.

Kurt Friedrich Kuss, Illinois, Illinois: Kurt has just completed work at National-Louis University on his bachelor of social work degree and will also be certified this fall in substance and alcohol abuse counseling. He'll begin his first year of a master's degree program in social work at Loyola University of Chicago in the fall. Kurt intends to become an employee assistance program counselor. He has chosen a field, as he says, in which you can get a job. He wants to counsel people with multiple substance-abuse problems. You can see that Kurt is a man of focus. He has chosen a field in which he knows he cannot be one of those seventy percent unemployed.

Lori Michelle Miller, Indiana, Indiana: Lori is entering her sophomore year at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, where she is taking full advantage of the smorgasbord of opportunities at the post-secondary level. She is undecided as to her discipline at the moment but considers possibilities in law or being a college professor. She is leaving from here to go play on the World Cup Goal Ball team in Colorado Springs. She also enjoys swimming and roller dance skating.

NFB Educator of Tomorrow Award, $2,500:

Corinne Vieville, California, California: Corinne will be beginning her second year in her master's degree at San Francisco State University, where she is in the Education Department. Her goal is to receive a certificate in adult rehab and also a credential in orientation and mobility, to which we all say, "Good luck." Corinne also wants to have a job in job development and career planning for blind students transitioning between home and work, with the opportunity to teach them skills as well as transitioning. She herself serves as President of the Mt. Diablo Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of California and lives on a family farm with her husband and four children, where they raise dairy and Angora goats, dairy and beef cattle, wool sheep, pigs, horses, donkeys, ponies, and a variety of poultry. I want you to know that, carrying all those responsibilities, she commutes one-and-a-half hours a day, one way, to college.

National Federation of the Blind Humanities Scholarship in the amount of $2,500:

Cecilia Ojoawo, Massachusetts, Massachusetts: Cecilia is about to begin her fourth year in her Ph.D. studies at Boston University, where she is earning a Ph.D. in psychology. She would like to be a college psychology professor. Cecilia herself lost her own parents in Nigeria when she was young and someday would like to build an orphanage for children in Nigeria. She also enjoys canoeing. She is a member of and serves currently as Secretary of the NFB of Massachusetts Boston chapter, and she teaches Sunday school to first-grade kids.

Frank Walton Horn Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $2,500. This scholarship, of course, is endowed in loving memory of Catherine Horn Randall's father by Cathy and her family, all of whom are staunch and active members of the NFB of Illinois:

Cary Alan Supalo, Illinois, Indiana: Cary has just completed his freshman year at Northern Illinois University, where he is seeking a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. He has decided to change schools in the fall, and he'll be a sophomore at Purdue University in Indiana. He intends to earn an E.E. and to work as an engineer in a large corporation. He is an active member of the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois, where he attends chapter meetings. He has been to state and national conventions. While at NIU he served as a student senator from his class to the student government, also as a volunteer receptionist at the Roman Catholic Youth Center, and he is currently President of the Illinois Association of Blind Students. So, Illinois, you'll have to find a new president.

The Howard Brown Rickard Scholarship in the amount of $2,500,our most long-standing scholarship, and restricted to students in the fields roughly of natural sciences, architecture, or law. It has been given since 1968 and goes this year to:

Luis Anaya, California, California: Luis is currently a high school senior, having just finished at California Academy of Mathematics and Sciences. He will be a freshman in the fall at the University of Southern California, where he also intends to earn a B.S. in electrical engineering. His goal is to add a J.D. to that E.E. He wants to be a lawyer and ultimately a patent attorney, combining his knowledge of math and science with the law. He has served as student body president during his time at the California Academy of Math and Sciences. He likes to race bikes, and he has taken college-level courses already in things like differential calculus and physics.

Melva T. Owen Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $3,000:

James Anthony Lyons, California, California: James will be a senior in the fall at San Diego State University, where he is studying in the discipline of liberal studies with an emphasis in music. His goal is to be an elementary school teacher. I heard someone say this week, "I wish he was teaching my girl right now rather than some of the teachers she has." James also serves as Treasurer of the San Diego Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of California, and he attended and won a scholarship at last fall's NFB of California convention. James is a single parent of a teenage daughter.

The next scholarship is a brand new scholarship. This scholarship is the Mozelle and Willard Gold Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $3,000. This will be an annual scholarship endowed by Sharon Gold in memory of her parents. Her mother passed away in 1988, and her father passed away in March of this year. Sharon's mother learned Braille when Sharon was a youngster, and when she was eight, her mother learned that there were over three hundred blind adults in the Bakersfield area who did not know Braille. Her mother started the Braille classes that continue today. She believed in literacy in the 1940's, '50's, and '60's, before we took up the issue in the National Federation of the Blind. Her father was one of those people of whom it was said, "He asked nothing of others and gave everything to others." This scholarship will be given this year to:

Shannon Raen Bartch, Missouri, Missouri: Shannon has just graduated from high school and will begin her freshman year of college at St. Louis University, where she will begin her studies toward a bachelor of science degree in psychology. Shannon also intends to earn a J.D. and to become a lawyer. Right before convention Shannon started learning Braille. I think that is one of the nice reasons why this is such a good scholarship for Shannon. She was also a cheerleader for four years in high school. She is a member of the Missouri Triangle Chapter and went to the D.C. Seminar this year. Shannon Bartch, the first winner of the Mozelle and Willard Gold Memorial Scholarship.

The next two scholarships are called National Federation of the Blind Scholarships. They are each in the amount of $4,000:

Shawn Marie Mayo, Illinois, Illinois: Shawn will be a senior at Bradley University in the fall, where she is also studying towards a B.S. in psychology. Her goal is to achieve a degree and then to counsel children with chronic and terminal illnesses and to do research on that same subject. In addition to her vocational interests, Shawn is now trying to write a book on this subject. She is also an equestrian. I wonder, Illinois, if you have found your next President for the Illinois Association of Blind Students?

Tracy Edmond Rogers, Colorado, Colorado: Tracy will be a junior in the fall at Colorado State University, where he is going to be earning two degrees, a bachelor's of social work and also a B.A. in history. Tracy ultimately hopes to earn a J.D. degree, and listen to these aspirations. He wants to be a federal prosecutor or litigation expert when he comes out of school. Within twenty years he wants to be either a U.S. Congressman or Senator or a federal judge. Tracy is also a single parent of a three-year-old daughter and likes to write songs, go to plays, and go with his daughter for walks in the park.

The next scholarship is the Anne Pekar Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $4,000. This scholarship, endowed by the parents of Anne Pekar in loving memory of her, is restricted to a woman between the ages of seventeen and twenty-five:

Leann M. Keefe, Kansas, Kansas: Leann will be starting her second year of her graduate studies in a master's program at the University of Kansas in Slavic languages and linguistics. Her goal is to be a professor of Russian and Slavic languages. Leann spent nine months recently in Russia, some of that teaching and some of that attending Moscow State University herself. Leann is a member of the Lawrence Chapter and active in programs for blind students in Kansas.

The final scholarship is the American Action Fund Scholarship in the amount of $10,000. I will first tell you who the scholarship winner is and then, as that winner comes forward, tell you a little about her:

Christine Leah Boone: Many of us know Chris, and she has lived in the states of Nebraska, New Mexico, Colorado, and Oregon. She has served in chapter presidencies and as a state president in many of those states. Some of you probably don't know that she has now just completed her first year of law school at Creighton University in Omaha. She is going to earn a J.D. degree and become a lawyer. She is also the mother of two children, Edward and Katie, who are here along with her husband at this convention. As a blind person Chris has successfully and lovingly taught cane travel professionally, and she has also taught teachers of the blind as well. She is now changing careers, and in whatever career Chris Boone decides to engage, you know and I know that she will not only make progress but she will make a success. Here, for a few remarks, is our $10,000 winner, Chris Boone:

Out of all of these incredibly intelligent, articulate, brilliant men and women, I can't believe you chose me. It's very difficult to find the words to express how honored I am. I think this is probably the greatest honor of my life, to be here before you, my brothers and sisters and friends, and to know that you have bestowed this incredible honor upon me. The Federation has given to me so richly by the wise teachings of Dr. Jernigan, and the kind and strong encouragement of President Maurer, and the eloquent and enduring writings of Jacobus tenBroek-many of which I still read this year, my first year of law school, even though they were written forty years ago. I want to say that I have been a Federationist for many years. I will always be a Federationist. It's forever for me. I love you guys, and now let's embrace our future together and make a lot more tornadoes.

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