Scholarship funds raised in late teacher's memory

February 21, 2006|by TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - Preparations for the Mary Linn Fox Scholarship fundraiser are under way at Pleasant View Elementary School.

Kim Golden, the chairwoman for the Fox scholarship fundraising committee, said she is beginning to receive donations from Morgan County businesses, and she will be contacting more community members to participate in the second Basket Bingo fundraiser, which will be April 9 from 2 to 5 p.m. at Warm Springs Middle School in Berkeley Springs.

Fox, who died in the summer of 2001 at 47, was a second-grade teacher at Pleasant View Elementary School in eastern Morgan County and spent her entire 25-year career there, said Nicole Fox, the school's principal.

Golden said the fund benefits Berkeley Springs High School seniors who attended Pleasant View Elementary School. This year, about 20 Berkeley Springs High School seniors came from Pleasant View, said Lance Fox, the high school's assistant principal.


The fund is part of Morgan County's Scholarship Student Aid Fund, and Mary Linn Fox was a recipient herself, Nicole Fox said.

"Teaching was her life," said Janet Stefanko, Mary Linn Fox's sister. "She said children that age already learned how to read and they were eager to learn."

Stefanko said their mother often said Mary Linn wanted to become a teacher since the first grade.

Stefanko said she kept in touch with her students and sent them cards when they graduated from Berkeley Springs High School.

Daisy Fox, a teacher's aide at Pleasant View for about 30 years, she said, said Mary Linn always put the student first. She said Mary Linn was well-liked by her students and asked the graduates to come back "to speak to her students to share their experiences."

"We are really proud that this scholarship fund is in her name," she said.

Golden said after Fox died, the Pleasant View teachers organized a fundraiser to benefit student aid and raised about $500 each for two students. Joel Deshong received $500 in 2002 and Rachelle Ferguson received $500 in 2003, she said.

Golden, who is a PASS (Providing Academic and Self-Esteem Support) coordinator at the school, became the fundraiser chairwoman to get the funds necessary to benefit students.

"I knew the importance of providing as much money as we can, so those winners will hopefully return to Morgan County to give back to the community to show others how they can achieve," Golden said.

About 200 people played Basket Bingo at the 2004 fundraiser and more than $3,500 was raised. Two $1,500 scholarships were given with the funding to Kyrsta Deering in 2004 and Randy Waugh in 2005, Golden said.

Local businesses can donate funds to purchase Longaberger baskets for this year's fundraiser, and Golden fills them with theme basket items.

A family basket might contain popcorn to pop, a movie and hot chocolate packets. A teacher basket is filled with teaching tools, such as pencils, Post-Its and other teaching items, and a popular "brownie basket" is filled with brownie-making mix, a wooden spoon, paper plates and napkins, she said.

There are 20 baskets for 20 games, Golden said, plus tickets can be purchased for three additional baskets that will be raffled. Golden said those are usually larger Longaberger baskets such as a laundry or picnic basket.

Tickets cost $20 for the three-hour bingo game on Sunday afternoon. Basket Bingo is very popular, she said.

"People have asked me if we were going to have it again," she said

Golden said questions regarding the scholarship should be directed to Nicole Fox at 304-258-2606. Contributions can be made to Pleasant View PTO, MLF Scholarship Committee, Pleasant View Elementary, 10500 Martinsburg Road, Hedgesville, WV 25427.

For Basket Bingo ticket information, e-mail, she said.

The scholarships are awarded at a banquet luncheon at Pleasant View at the end of the school year, Nicole Fox said. Past scholarship winners are invited, as well as Mary Linn's parents.

Always ready to help

Pleasant View principal Nicole Fox said Mary Linn was always ready to help anyone - not only her students but new teachers as well. In July 2001, the Morgan County Board of Education recognized her contribution to new teachers by establishing the Mary Linn Fox First Year Teacher Award, which is given every year to an outstanding beginning teacher. The past winners are:

2001 - Amanda Nicholas, Widmyer Elementary School

2002 Co-winners Deborah Ditto, Widmyer, and Sarah Morris, Berkeley Springs High School

2003 Ian Helmick, Paw Paw High School

2004 - Jennifer Unger, Berkeley Springs High School

2005 - Candice Blanchard, Berkeley Springs High School

The past winners of the Mary Linn Fox Scholarship are:

2001-02: Joel Deshong

2002-03: Rachelle Ferguson

2003-04: Kyrsta Deering

2004-05: Randy Waugh

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