View Full Version : Beaufort military wife earns scholarship

02-26-06, 07:28 AM
Working to teach
Beaufort military wife earns scholarship that allows her to attend college for degree
Published Saturday February 25 2006
The Beaufort Gazette

Though a few years from receiving her education certification, Judith Richardson already knows exactly what her classroom will look like: Letters of the alphabet line the top of the chalkboard, cubby holes, book bags hanging near the door and a little teacher's desk, complete with an apple.

"I just have this vision of who I am or who I will be," she said. That vision is teaching elementary school. "I see my classroom, I see my kids. Why not to do it would be the question."

And as a mother of three with a husband in the military, she said she needed all the help she could get in attaining a higher education, especially because her husband's tuition benefits don't extend to her.

One source of funding came from a $1,000 scholarship awarded to her last year from the Beaufort Branch of the American Association of University Women.

Each year, the association gives a scholarship to a mature female student in the process of earning a college degree. For the past three years, the scholarship has gone to wives of military men.

"We are not exclusively for military spouses, but they are the ones who tend to rise to the surface," association President Charlotte Boe said.

Four years ago, the association switched from granting the scholarship from a graduating high school senior going into math or science fields to women older than 21 already started on their higher education, she said.

"Generally, they're the ones here and struggling to get degrees," Boe said.

The money for the scholarship comes from the association's annual Attic Sale, which generally enables the organization to give out about $1,000. It's basically a huge garage sale, and this year's event is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Sea Island Presbyterian Church.

Three scholarship recipients have graduated before they left Beaufort, and Richardson said she plans to graduate in May with a bachelor's degree in social psychology from Park University. She had a 4.0 GPA when she applied for the scholarship last year.

Richardson has been taking night classes at the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort since the summer of 2004. She said she started her degree with the University of Maryland when her husband, Master Sgt. Troy Richardson, was stationed in Okinawa, Japan, without knowing what she wanted to study.

However, with her children a little older they range in age from 7 to 15 and her husband's encouragement, Richardson said she decided it was time to pursue her dream.

"It's always in the back of your mind, 'I have to do this,' even though you're older," she said.

Pursuing an education has been fun, yet stressful at times, Richardson said. She cleans and does homework during the day and makes sure she has dinner ready for her family before she runs out for her classes about 5 two nights per week.

Now her schedule is even busier because she's starting to be a substitute teacher in the Beaufort County School District to try her hand at teaching before going on to earn an education certificate.

In May her husband will retire after 22 years in the Marine Corps, and the family will move to Atlanta, where Richardson said they're building a house, which also takes some of her time.

However, she said it'll all be worth when she stands in front of her own class carrying out her own lesson plans.

"Everybody should have some kind of vision," Richardson said.