SOE News

Kennedy scholars’ luncheon celebrates impact of scholarship on future teachers

In 1996, Harold, Harvey and Michael Kennedy established the Willie Hall Kennedy scholarship at the School of Education to honor their grandmother, a lifelong teacher.

Willie Hall Kennedy graduated from Winston-Salem Teachers College (now Winston-Salem State University) in the 1920s and went on to earn a master’s degree in education from Columbia University in New York. She taught elementary school in Winston-Salem for 47 years, touching the lives of hundreds of students who passed through her third-grade classroom. She died in 1974.

When the Kennedy brothers created the scholarship, they hoped it would bring outstanding young people from diverse cultures into the profession of education. On Oct. 5, 2008, the School of Education hosted a scholars’ luncheon to celebrate the fact that the Kennedy Scholarship has done just that.

Members of the Kennedy family joined the current and former Kennedy scholars, their families and School of Education representatives to share memories and stories. The luncheon was an opportunity for the scholars and the School to pay tribute to the Kennedy brothers for their long-standing generosity.

Since the Willie Hall Kennedy Scholarship was first awarded, 13 School of Education undergraduate students have received it. Comments from a few of the scholars convey the importance of the scholarship to them:

“I am so appreciative of the scholarship I received from the Kennedy family! It serves as a constant reminder that someone invested in me because they believed I could make a difference.” - Brooksie Broome (A.B.Ed. ’00)

“As a student, I was happy to have the money and the honor of having a scholarship. As a teacher, I value the support of the Kennedy brothers and their efforts to strengthen the teaching profession by giving many deserving college students a chance to excel.” - Anna DeLoach (A.B.Ed. ’08)

“Not only did the generous support from the Kennedy scholarship cover a significant portion of the cost of my college education, but in addition, I have been inspired by the story of Willie Hall Kennedy and her remarkable influence on so many people throughout her teaching career.” - Whitney Maxwell (A.B.Ed. ’09)

Harold, Harvey and Michael, who were very close to their grandmother, shared some of their own memories of her.

“Our grandmother, Willie Hall Kennedy, taught hundreds of students during her long career as an elementary school teacher. She was a very dedicated and inspirational teacher. Over the years, many of her former students have said to us that she was the best teacher they ever had,” said Harvey Kennedy.

“It is great to see that the Willie Hall Kennedy scholars are having a tremendous impact on students in the public schools of North Carolina and throughout the nation. These scholars exemplify the qualities of our grandmother,” he noted.

Wendy Gratz Borman, assistant dean for external relations and host of the luncheon, expressed appreciation on behalf of the School of Education. “Thanks to the love and generosity of her grandsons, Willie Hall Kennedy’s legacy is being instilled in today’s educators,” said Borman. “We are deeply grateful to Harold, Harvey and Michael for establishing the scholarship. We believe it is carrying into the future Mrs. Kennedy’s inspiring devotion to children and her commitment to education.”

A list of scholarships available to undergraduate and graduate students in the School of Education is available on our Web site.

Willie Hall Kennedy Scholars
1996-1997  Gabrielle Lenore Talley (A.B.Ed. ’98)
1997-1998 Tabitha Novelia Saunders (A.B.Ed. ’99)
1998-1999 Brooksie Broome (A.B.Ed. ’00)
1999-2000 ThuHien Vo Malesky (A.B.Ed. ’01)
2000-2001 Andrea Allen Carpenter (A.B.Ed. ’02)
2001-2002 Christian Hairston Randleman (A.B.Ed. ’03, M.Ed. ’07)
2002-2003 Ashley Nicole Harrison Robinson (A.B.Ed. ’04)
2003-2004 Dekel Jonte Hill (A.B.Ed. ’05)
2004-2005 Dale Nicole Taybron (A.B.Ed. ’05)
2005-2006 Genevieve Calloway (A.B.Ed. ’07)
2006-2007  Anna Kathryne DeLoach (A.B.Ed. ’08)
2007-2008   Whitney Chantel Maxwell (A.B.Ed. ’09)
2008-2009  Portia Nicole Newman (A.B.Ed. ’10)