Hattie M. Strong Scholars Gather for a Virtual Celebration

During the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years, 12 students in Radford University’s College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) teacher preparation program were awarded scholarships from the Hattie M. Strong Foundation, which provides $30,000 annually in scholarships to Radford University’s student teachers.

Dr. Tamara Wallace and Dr. Debora Bays Wilbon with three Hattie M. Strong scholars

On April 13, 2021, ten of the scholarship recipients gathered for a virtual celebration where they each expressed their gratitude for the scholarship support and shared presentations that recapped their student teaching experiences. Scholarship recipients at the virtual celebration included:

  • Ashley Frost, Kameron Walker and Michaella Kelley – spring 2021 scholars;
  • Haley Osborne and Asher Vaughn – fall 2020 scholars;
  • Christopher McNabb, Allie Dowdy and Brandon Reed – spring 2020 scholars; and
  • Devon Watty and Brittany Dunbar – fall 2019 scholars.

Kameron Walker ’21, a music education major, spent his spring 2021 semester student teaching at Salem High School and Fort Lewis Elementary School in Salem, Va. Going into his senior year at Radford University, Walker was unsure of how he would make ends meet while student teaching.

“I remember my mom and dad telling me that they prayed very hard that I would win the scholarship because they, too, were unsure of how I would make it through my senior year of college,” said Walker.

He anxiously opened the email that contained his scholarship notification.

“While reading it, tears began to fall from my eyes,” said Walker. “God had heard my parents’ prayers, and they had been answered.”

Walker described receiving the Hattie M. Strong Foundation scholarship as a “huge honor” and something he would cherish for the rest of his life.

Hattie M. Strong Virtual Celebration

Ashley Frost ’21 spent the fall 2020 semester as student teacher to fourth graders at Belle Heth Elementary School and the spring 2021 semester with kindergartens at McHarg Elementary School, both located in Radford. One of her cooperating teachers described her as having an exceptional work ethic and ability to go above and beyond her duties in the classroom.

“My field experience has been nothing short of amazing,” said Frost. “I would not have been able to dig so deep into my two semesters of field experience had it not been for the scholarship to financially support me throughout this time.”

During the virtual celebration, the Hattie M. Strong Foundation scholars were joined by Executive Director Robin Tanner and Vice President Sigrid Reynolds of the Hattie M. Strong Foundation; Dr. Tamara Wallace, Dean of CEHD; Dr. Debora Bays Wilbon, Associate Dean of CEHD; and Penny Helms White, Senior Director of University Advancement.

It’s just so heartwarming to hear these stories from the students. It’s so important to know the difference we’ve made in their lives, and it feels good to know that we have these excellent teachers.

Robin Tanner, Executive Director, Hattie M. Strong Foundation

Helping others help themselves was a consistent theme that was present throughout Hattie M. Strong’s philanthropic activities. She also had a strong belief in the value of hard work, dedication and strength of character. Tanner and Reynolds recognized these values in the scholarship recipients from Radford University.

“I am absolutely in awe of each one of you,” said Reynolds. “Without a doubt, Hattie would be so thrilled to know that this money went to such a great group of young people.”

About the Hattie M. Strong Foundation

Hattie M. Strong, born on October 23, 1864 in South Coventry, Connecticut, had a special interest in helping young adults, especially those who would pay it forward. Strong passed away on June 6, 1950 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, but her legacy lives on in the Hattie M. Strong Foundation, which she established in 1928. The Hattie M. Strong Foundation scholarship program is specifically aimed at college students enrolled in teacher-training programs at selected partnering institutions.

Recipients of the Hattie M. Strong scholarship must have GPAs of 3.0 or better for the two semesters prior to student teaching, exhibit outstanding success and enthusiasm in previous field experiences, show strong leadership skills and demonstrate financial need. The recipients must intend to pursue a teaching career, and preference is provided to applicants with a demonstrated record of "helping others help themselves.”