Four Wisconsin students were honored this spring as recipients of 2016 WEAC Future Teacher Scholarships. Each was selected based on his or her commitment and enthusiasm for continuing Wisconsin’s proud tradition of providing the highest quality teachers for students. The winners – each of whom is the son or daughter of a WEAC member and plans to enter the education profession – were recognized at the WEAC annual Representative Assembly with more than 500 educators from around the state present to applaud their accomplishment. The winners are:
Devin Pettys, a Holmen High School senior, son of Stephanie St. Pierre, an Onalaska fifth grade teacher and member of the Onalaska Education Association in WEAC Region 4.
“I know that Wisconsin educators are among the most dedicated and resilient educators in the country,” Pettys said in his thank you remarks. “My mom was my first teacher and I have watched her experience a wide range of emotions with her job over the years, from joy, fun and pride to anger and frustration. She’s always maintained that the ‘ups’ outweigh the ‘downs.’ I think that’s a great thing to be able to say about your job.”
Pettys plans to attend the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in the fall.
Elizabeth Krueger, a Berlin Area High School senior, the daughter of Scott and Brenda Krueger of Pine River. Her mother, a Florence Elementary School first grade teacher, is a member of the Wild Rose Education Association and WEAC Region 5 member. Elizabeth will attend UW-Stevens Point and plans to become a school speech language pathologist.
“My high school offers an aspiring educators program for students like me who know that they want to work in schools. When I began working with the speech teachers at Clay Lamberton Elementary, I fell in love,” she said. “The day I realized that this is truly what I want to do with my life was the day a second grader with Cerebral Palsy said my name after many strenuous weeks of attempting to teach him new words. My ultimate goal is to work at an elementary school here in Wisconsin.”
Grace Nelson, a Milwaukee Public Schools senior, the daughter of LeeAnne Nelson and the late David Nelson. Her mother is a WEAC/MTEA member who teaches at MPS’ Cooper Elementary School.
“The career of teaching will allow me to help children every single day,” Nelson said. “I am confident that there is no better career path than teaching to help me fulfill my goals and allow me to help children on a wide scale. I hope that one day I can inspire students like the many teachers who have inspired me.”
Grace will attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the fall.
Tessa Merhalski of Florence, the daughter of Michael and Chevonne Merhalski. Her mother is a WEAC member and teacher at Florence Elementary School.
“As a student myself, teachers have had some of the biggest impacts on my life,” Merhalski said. “Every child has so much potential with the right kind of support system backing them up.”
“WEAC leads the profession in ensuring every student has a caring, qualified and committed teacher,” said Alexandra Agar, a Watertown middle school teacher and chairwoman of WEAC’s Community Outreach and Parental Involvement Committee which selected the award winners. “Education isn’t just a job, it’s a calling. This scholarship assists outstanding future educators in fulfilling their dreams to inspire students’ natural curiosity, imagination and desire to learn.”
WEAC is Wisconsin’s largest association of professional educators committed to the success of every student. Members include teachers, education support professionals and technical college instructors.