Extra Help for Student Teachers

Joyce and William Esterhuizen were impressed with what their daughter-in-law, Anne, told them about Radford University’s education programs as she completed her post-baccalaureate certification in elementary education.

When they realized how demanding the program was and how much financial sacrifice was involved, particularly during the student teaching semester, it led to a compassionate decision.

“The semester she was student teaching, we realized she was paying tuition to work full-time, unpaid,” said Joyce of Anne, who completed her certification in May and is married to Esterhuizens’ son, Max. “It was a hardship, and we realized what a hardship it is for so many students at that time period. These students are making financial sacrifices to go into a career that is traditionally underpaid and overworked, out of their belief that all children deserve a quality education. It is incredibly inspiring.”

The Esterhuizens’ decision was to establish a scholarship for education majors who are in their student teaching semester in Radford University’s College of Education and Human Development.

“We grew quite fond of Southwest Virginia as we spent years visiting the area. Putting the two together - wanting to leave a legacy to the area and acknowledging Anne’s fabulous teacher preparation at Radford University - we were thinking of a way we could give back,” Joyce said. "A scholarship for a student teacher from the area seemed like the best way.”

The first Esterhuizen Family Scholarship for Student Teachers will be awarded in the spring of 2016. It is designed to go to education majors from Southwest Virginia. ”We came up with the idea of helping students in the semester they’re doing their student teaching, and then we wanted to contribute to a student from Southwest Virginia,” Joyce said. “So, it was kind of a way to combine everything and help a student during that tough semester.”

“Now, that Max and Anne have graduated from Radford University, we’re kind of sad we’re not visiting the area now,” Joyce said. “One of the nice things is Radford has asked us to come to campus and meet the winning student for each spring semester. It’s exciting. We had seven years of making the trek up there to see Max and Anne, and it’s sad that it ended. But we’re excited that we’ll have a reason to go back to Radford.”