A local education foundation has affirmed its pledge to support qualified scholarship applicants. Yavapai County residents interested in pursuing an education degree now can apply for one of several $2,000 or more scholarships for the coming academic year.

Grants are available from the Gardner Family Teacher Scholarships (GiFTS), (formerly known as the Education Scholarship Endowment-Yavapai County (ESEYC). Written applications must be filed no later than midnight, Monday, March 4, 2019. Applications are available online at http://ycesa.com/gardner-teacher- scholarship/ or by contacting Jenn Nelson at 928 442-5138. All applications must be submitted by deadline— no exceptions.

Applicants must be Yavapai County residents who have graduated from an accredited public high school in the county or have resided in Yavapai County for one year and must be committed to teaching in any of grades K-12, preferably in Yavapai County. Applicants must have no less than a 3.0 high school or college/university grade point average, financial need will be considered.

In announcing scholarship availability, Robert St. Clair, GiFTS board president said, “Aggressive steps are being taken to counter the current teacher shortage, especially in Yavapai County, Arizona, which is facing a crisis in having enough teachers to fill classrooms. That’s why we have increased the minimum amount we give to help teachers. It is the 19th year we have offered financial support to students who have been accepted in teacher education programs. Our organization has contributed almost $295,000 to help aspiring teachers. So far, over the years, we have given scholarships to 161 persons.”

In addition, GiFTS will administer a $2,000 or more scholarship funded by the Prescott Sunrise Lions Club. It is intended for a prospective teacher who meets at least one of these criteria: has a visual or auditory disability; or will teach students who have visual, auditory or physical disabilities.

Still another category is offered to displaced teachers who are seeking additional discipline certification or endorsement to sustain their teaching employment. Such applicants must provide a written statement that documents additional education coursework is necessary for them to keep a job.

Recipients will be announced publicly at a 3:30 p.m. reception on Friday, May 3. The same recipients also will be recognized later that same day at 6 p.m. during the annual Yavapai County Teacher of the Year Awards Banquet at the Prescott Resort. GiFTS (ESEYC) is a non-profit organization administered by a volunteer board of directors representative of various county communities. It was founded by the late Gladys Gardner, a former teacher who later became an Arizona legislator and ultimately, Yavapai County supervisor. She died June 16, 2014, but bequeathed a substantial amount of her estate as a permanent endowment to support aspiring teachers from Yavapai County.

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