CTA & You

Scholarships, Grants and Awards, Oh My!

Multiple opportunities for members and their dependents

Is there a committed student in your household who could use financial aid? Are you enrolled in coursework for professional advancement and need funds to defray costs?

Among the many benefits of CTA membership are various educational scholarships, grants and awards available for members and their dependents throughout the academic year.

To see the names of 2017-18 scholarship recipients, and for more information about the scholarships, including eligibility and criteria, see cta.org/scholarships.

Student CTA also offers scholarships; see cta.org/sctascholarships. For information about other CTA awards, see cta.org/awards.

1. CTA Scholarships

For the 2017-18 year, CTA awarded 43 scholarships in this category, with awards ranging from $3,000 to $5,000. Most of the scholarships went to dependent children of CTA members, in high school and college.

The CTA Scholarship for Dependent Children offers a maximum of 35 scholarships of up to $5,000 each. One scholarship in honor of Ralph J. Flynn is awarded to the highest-scoring applicant. One scholarship in honor of Ruthie Fagerstrom is awarded to the second-highest-scoring applicant. One scholarship in honor of Susan B. Anthony is awarded to the third-highest-scoring applicant.

The CTA Scholarship in Honor of Del A. Weber offers one scholarship of up to $5,000 to a dependent child of an active, CTA/NEA-Retired, or deceased CTA member who is attending or attended a continuation high school or an alternative education program.

The CTA Scholarship for Members offers a maximum of five scholarships of up to $3,000 each. The highest-scoring applicant is awarded the American Indian/Alaska Native Memorial Scholarship in Honor of Alice Piper. One scholarship is designated for an education support professional who wants to transition into the teaching profession.

The Student CTA (SCTA) Scholarship in Honor of L. Gordon Bittle offers a maximum of three scholarships of up to $5,000 each. The highest-scoring SCTA applicant is awarded the Pacific Asian American Scholarship in Honor of Philip Vera Cruz.

2. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Scholarships

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Scholarship Program encourages ethnic minority students to become educators, school nurses, school counselors or school therapists, and promotes professional growth for ethnic minority teachers and ESP members. An applicant must be an active CTA member, a dependent child of an active, CTA/NEA-Retired, or deceased CTA member, or a Student CTA (SCTA) member.

Award amount: up to $6,000.

3. CTA Cesar E. Chavez Memorial Education Awards Program

This awards program provides recognition for teams of students and their teachers who demonstrate an understanding of the vision and guiding principles by which Cesar Chavez lived his life. Work by the recipients, both students and sponsoring CTA members, is recognized by posting visual art and written essays online and in various CTA publications.

Award amount: up to $550.

4. GLBT Safety in Schools Grant and Scholarship Program in Honor of Guy DeRosa

The grant program supports projects and presentations that promote understanding of and respect for LGBTQ+ persons. The scholarship program supports self-identified LGBTQ+ members enrolled in a teacher/counseling credential or graduate program who are pursuing a career in public education and who understand the importance of LGBTQ+ educators as role models in public schools. The program is named after DeRosa, a CTA member and lifelong LGBTQ+ activist.

Award amount: up to $2,500.

Winners’ Snapshots

“When I think of everything, I realize I really love the work that comes with teaching.”
Ilianna Delgado, daughter of Steve Delgado, Visalia Unified Teachers Association, won a 2017-18 Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $6,000.

When Ilianna Delgado was a sophomore in high school, she felt compelled to help the young women in her community. As she noted in her essay, Tulare County has one of the lowest levels of education and one of the highest unemployment rates and highest teen pregnancy rates in the nation.

She came up with a plan to teach a girls’ self-esteem group called GEMS (Girls Empowered and Motivated for Success) at her local middle school. With support from her own school, she wrote up a curriculum, and weekly for the next two years taught several groups of at-risk girls how to feel confident and empowered, set goals, and make good decisions.

It wasn’t easy at first. “Initially, I searched for different programs, like the Dove Real Beauty campaign [which championed females of all sizes and shapes], to apply that vision to my curriculum,” Delgado says. “I developed certain activities. But I was shocked because the young women were so shy, and I had to work to get them out of their shells. My curriculum took a more flexible shape.”

Now a first-year student at UC Berkeley, she is studying media and marketing and working at the Gender Equity Resource Center. She also has a job as “Wonder Woman Weekly” coordinator, where among other things she leads community dinners that focus on significant issues facing women and creating safe spaces for conversation.

Both of her parents are high school teachers, and she knows that’s a possible path. “When I think of everything, I realize I really love the work that comes with teaching,” she says. She is also passionate about writing.

And of course, there is GEMS, which is continuing in other students’ hands. “I really would love to take the concept where we help underprivileged, shy women with self-confidence, and turn it into a nonprofit.”

“I love what I do, I love the kids, I love that they’re independent.”
Justine Almanza, Manteca Educators Association, won a 2017-18 Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $5,200.

Justine Almanza remembers when MEA President Ericka Meadows sent out a note to chapter members about the various CTA scholarships and grants that were available. “I looked them over, and the MLK scholarship seemed like a good fit,” Almanza says. “I love what MLK stood for.”

While teaching seventh- and eighth-grade special education at Great Valley Elementary, Almanza is pursuing her special ed credential, then anticipates getting her master’s in special ed at the Teachers College of San Joaquin.

It’s a full schedule, she says, but she has it easy compared with her mother, a third-grade teacher. “I have an intern credential right now, where you can teach and go to school at same time. My mom had to go through the student teacher program with no paycheck. I’m able to do something I’m passionate about and support myself at same time.”

The second-year educator knows special education is her calling. She recalls helping out in her mom’s class early on. “I was always drawn to children that had something special.”

With her experience with younger children, Almanza was surprised when her Great Valley principal thought she’d be a good fit to teach older kids. It’s clearly worked out. “I love what I do, I love the kids, I love that they’re independent. And at that age I can joke with them!”

“I feel tremendously honored to be given a scholarship that will help me so much toward achieving my goals.”
Alyssa Gomez, daughter of Cynthia Johnson, Teachers Association of Norwalk-La Mirada, won a 2017-18 Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $6,000.

Even before she entered high school, Alyssa Gomez was volunteering at Higher Ground in Anaheim, which offers services for at-risk youth and families. Now, having completed her first year at CSU Fullerton, Gomez will spend the summer there again, as well as at the local YMCA.

“I help out wherever it’s needed,” she says. “Sometimes I help kids with homework. Sometimes I help in the art classes.”

Gomez aspires to teach art. She is an accomplished artist herself, working in multiple media including pastel, acrylic, charcoal, oil, watercolor and ink. She has won recognition for her talents over the past few years, and has been selected as a participant in several prestigious art academies.

In college she is also studying animation. Her CTA scholarship will go toward college tuition and expenses. “I feel tremendously honored to be given a scholarship that will help me so much toward achieving my goals,” she says. “It will help relieve the financial burden on my family. Art supplies are costly.”

Gomez counts as role models not only her mother, who has been an educator for more than 18 years, but also an art teacher who she says changed her life.

“Just as my teacher helped shape me into the person that I am today, I want to do the same,” she wrote in her scholarship application. “I want to be able to inspire students, see students reach their potential.”

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