A new five thousand dollar scholarship, established in honor of former director of the Mills’ Children School, Joan Henry, was awarded to senior Ashley Eisele this semester.
The scholarship, endowed with a one hundred thousand dollar principle, was awarded based on several qualifications.
“The primary criteria for the fund will be financial need, merit, as well as maintenance of a 3.0 GPA, demonstration of a commitment to graduating from Mills and the goal of pursuing work in the area of Child Development/Early Childhood Education,” wrote department of Education Director Joseph Kahn in an April 16 letter sent out to students in the Child Development field.
Joan Henry was director of the Mills Children’s School for nineteen years before her retirement in 1998. In an e-mail sent to a reporter, the Mills School of Education Faculty Assistant Melissa Benham wrote that Henry “was instrumental in integrating infants into the preschool program [and] creating the Infant/Toddler program.”
Gale Emigh, whose son went to the Children’s School while Henry was director, said that, “she was a delightful presence at the school. She somehow kept the school together even though she functioned out of a tiny office that was like a closet.”
Emigh now teaches at the school. “One of the reasons [that I am teaching here] is because I learned so much from Joan,” she said.
Professional accomplishments aside, Emigh said that Henry is an “adventure woman.”
Henry learned to ride horses in her forties, has skydived and is currently traveling in China, according to Emigh.
A parent, whose child went to the Children’s School under Henry, endowed the scholarship anonymously last December and this is the first year it has been paid out.
Eric Alexander, associate director of major gifts, said that it is not uncommon for people to give anonymously. “Some people prefer to remain anonymous because they have a more modest personal style,” he said.
Henry, who knows the donor, was also part of the committee that selected Eisele as this year’s winner, according to Alexander.
Eisele double majors in Early Childhood Education and History. She spent a year in Namibia teaching sixth and seventh graders and she called this time a “phenomenal life-changing experience” that led her to pursue the field of education. “It was very intense, but I loved it,” said Eisele
Eisele also worked at the Children’s School as part of the after-school and lunch time program. “It was very different from Namibia, but it was great,” she said. “We were really giving children a constructive education.”
After she graduates from Mills, Eisele would like to go to graduate school to pursue teaching or law. “I am interested in changing public policy around education,” she said.
The same donor who established the Joan Henry Scholarship also established the Dr. Laura Nathan Scholarship for Community Service and Social Justice, named after a former sociology professor, said Alexander.
The twenty-five hundred dollar scholarship was distributed through the Institute for Civic Leadership and awarded to Lynette Arnold and Morning Star Gali for the fall 2007 term, according to Krista Smith from the Institute for Civic Leadership.