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Summer 2014 Horizon Header

       

A passion for children inspires Tillie Hall to pursue a teaching degree at Wichita State

Tillie Hall with one of her young students at Linwood Elementary School, where she worked last school year as part of WSU’s cooperative education program.
Tillie Hall with one of her young students at Linwood Elementary School, where she worked last school year as part of WSU’s cooperative education program.

Tillie Hall wasn’t one of those kids whose childhood dream was to be a teacher. In fact, the only teacher she had for most of her life was her mother, who home-schooled Hall and her six sisters and one brother. 

    It wasn’t until a couple of years ago, when she took a year off school to travel with a music ministry team, that she began experiencing the rewards of working with children and youth. Participating in Wichita State’s cooperative learning program as a teacher’s assistant for the past year clinched the deal. 

    “I realized how much I love being around kids and how much I can give them,” Hall says. “I learned I have a passion for kids.” 

    Hall, 21, will complete her junior year at Wichita State during the 2014-2015 academic year. She is seeking a degree in elementary education and her dream is to work for several years as a teacher in other countries before returning to the United States to work in a public or private school system. 

    It’s a dream that would have been difficult to achieve without scholarship support. 

    “My parents encouraged all of us kids to get a college education, but they also made it clear that with eight children, they weren’t going to be able to pay for it,” Hall says with a laugh. “I got my first job at 15 and knew that I would need scholarships and other financial aid to afford a college degree.” 

    Hall is the recipient of the Klepper Family Endowed Scholarship in Education, established in 2006 by Coralyn Klepper Summers in memory of her father and two aunts. Summers graduated from the University of Wichita in 1954 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. She and her husband, Ronald Summers, now live in North Carolina. 

    Summers hopes the scholarship she created helps to provide students an experience at Wichita State similar to the one she enjoyed. 


“Scholarships are a huge part of me being able to stay in college.” 

- Tillie Hall

    “My professors were so helpful, so kind and so interested in me,” she says. “They always made me feel special. I want to see students nowadays getting those same opportunities and experiences that I did.” 

    Hall earned an associate’s degree from Garden City Community College, then began researching which university to attend for her bachelor’s degree. Wichita State, she said, stood out because of its emphasis on cooperative education — learning while doing. 

    “I pretty much came to WSU for the co-op program,” Hall says. “It turned out to be one of the coolest things I’ve done. I worked in the Wichita school district for about 25 hours a week. Getting to see the different aspects of how a school works, meeting a lot of teachers who were very encouraging to me — it was an eye-opening experience in a very positive way.” 

    Hall lives in the new Shocker Hall and works at the front desk. She’ll also be a PAL — a Peer Academic Leader who helps provide academic and social support to other students living in Shocker Hall. The financial support that her job and her scholarship provide will allow her to stay focused on her own academic performance, which includes a 3.95 GPA. 

    “I am incredibly grateful for the support I receive,” she says. “When I got the email that I had received the Klepper scholarship, I was just so happy and relieved. Without it, I would have had to take a break from college and work for a while. Scholarships are a huge part of me being able to stay in college.”

 

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A passion for children inspires Tillie Hall to pursue a teaching degree at Wichita State