The Teacher Legacies that We Can’t Get Out of Our Head
posted by: Melissa | July 05, 2018, 08:24 PM   

Teachers don’t get into it for the money. Many teachers report starting a career in education due to altruistic feelings and a desire to positively impact the world around them. For some, impacting others in life isn’t enough. Some teachers are so dedicated to their students, that they seek to help them even in death, leaving behind legacies that impact generations to come.


Kim Bellingrath’s Computer Lab

Kim Bellingrath was excited about the possibilities of technology in the classroom and wanted her school to purchase a Chromebooks to create a computer lab that would be accessible to her second grade students. It was something that the school just didn’t have money for at the time, so Ms. Bellingrath sought outside donations. Her efforts resulted in a $10,000 grant the school could use to create the lab. Unfortunately, Ms. Bellingrath didn’t live to see her dream come true. She died from a heart condition just days before the lab opened its doors, however due to her dedication her students and many more who followed were able to have access to computers.


Genevieve Via Cava’s $1 Million

Genevieve Via Cava dedicated her life to teaching students with special needs, and she didn’t forget them when making her will. Ms. Via Cava was a saver, who regularly put aside money, but she didn’t have family to pass the money onto when she died. Instead, she left $1 million of her estate to her school district, with instructions that it be used to establish a scholarship that would allow special education students to continue their education.


Emily Franz’s $3,000

Emily Franz didn’t have much to her name when she died in a car crash. She was just beginning her teaching career when she died in 1973 at age 24 and had only managed to save $3,000. Her family and school district took that small amount and turned it into a scholarship fund to help students from the district pay for their college education. That small $3,000 became the seed that supported hundreds of students’ continuing education.


Tammy Waddell’s Backpacks

Perhaps the most recent story that we’ve heard was about Tammy Waddell. She was described as having a heart for her students and a desire to impact the community. So, when her cancer caused her to leave her beloved teaching position, Mrs. Waddell made sure that she would leave something behind for her students. She asked that mourners at her funeral donate backpacks to Project Connect which provides needy students’ school supplies. This simple request garnered donations from across the community.


Diane Boschee’s Art

Diane Boschee was an art teacher at Mandan High School from 1974-2001. A prolific artist herself, Ms. Boschee left behind numerous original works after she lost her battle with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Not only were these pieces of art beautiful, but they were also auctioned off last month with the proceeds being earmarked to help students who are pursuing art education.


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