Former Claude Millet Endfield Scholarship Winner Receives Prestigious Honor
Celena Ambrose, a former student of Northland Pioneer College (NPC), and current early childhood educator with Holbrook AZ’s Headstart, was recently named as one of only eleven PBS Kids Early Learning Champions nationwide. The award, established in 2018, recognizes and celebrates passionate educators who work with our nation’s youngest students, from infants to second graders.
In 2020, Celena completed NPC’s Early Childhood Development program under the leadership of Faculty Chair, Dr. Allison Landy, and with the support of the Claude Millet Endfield Early Childhood Development Scholarship. This past December, Celena was elected to the Arizona Early Childhood Alliance (AZECA), an advocacy and awareness group that furthers positive change in the field of early childhood education. Her focus on becoming an accomplished teacher has driven her to pursue her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Studies, which she will begin in spring 2022. As a PBS KIDS Early Learning Champion, she will be able to further immerse herself with other professional learning and networking opportunities to benefit the youngest students in our rural area.
According to PBS, the Early Learning Champions program represents the diverse teaching community impacting young learners today. As children move through the pandemic-impacted learning territory, they need tools and resources from educators and PBS Kids to build skills in and out of the classroom. This year’s honorees were chosen for their passion and devotion to early education, as well as their desire to foster relationships with their students and local PBS stations.
Of the eleven national honorees, Celena was one of only two selected from small, rural communities. When asked how she feels about being recognized with the honor, she laughed and remarked: “It is still pretty mind-blowing to me! It feels very surreal!” She noted that she has been pleased to meet her peers among the select group of champions, reporting that, “They are all doing amazing things!”
It is safe to say that there will be many more firsts for “Teacher Lena”, whose talents and determination are part of many successes yet to come. She joins a dynamic group of early learning champions, and the tiny students at Holbrook Headstart are in excellent hands.
I hope this finds you and your loved ones well in these unprecedented times! I want to share with you some great news. As a great supporter of the students of Northland Pioneer College (NPC) through NPC Friends and Family, I want to share this with you and encourage you to listen to it. I want you to hear firsthand about how you have made a real difference in students’ lives, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, an arm of NPR, called APM Reports released a story called “Covid on Campus,” on their website. One of the colleges covered in their story is NPC! The webpage contains a short written synopsis of the audio story. The audio story is great and features several people at the college including our president and an NPCFF scholarship winner. You can listen to this story at:
The link to play the audio story is located UNDER the photograph on the webpage. PLEASE GO TO THE AUDIO link (which is much more comprehensive) than the written version. NPC’s part of the story starts in the audio recording around 22:26 and ends around 36:05. It is a great example of who we are and what we do, and most of all, how you have helped us! Please know how much I appreciate you, and enjoy!
Take good care,
Betsyann Wilson, Executive Director
NPC Friends & Family
1611 South Main Street
Snowflake, AZ 85937
NPC Friends and Family Awards Over $78,000 in Scholarships
for the 21-22 Academic Year
NPC Friends and Family awarded thirty-six scholarships totaling $30,727 to twenty-five unique students for the spring 2022 semester. Fall 2021 scholarship awards worth $47,902 went to thirty-seven students, bringing the combined grand total for the 2021-22 academic year to $78,629, the most ever awarded by the foundation in an academic year.
In our first academic year, 2014-15, we awarded a little less than $20,000 to twenty-one students. It is so gratifying to see this kind of growth! A total of 118 applications were submitted for thirteen different scholarships. Per Friends and Family board policy, each applicant may win no more than two scholarships per semester, and awardees will receive the two most valuable scholarships from among those for which they have applied. Fifteen of the applicants received two scholarships, and every applicant received at least one scholarship award.
A total of 38 volunteers, including members of the community, NPCFF board, NPC faculty, staff, and administrators, including NPC President Dr. Chato Hazelbaker, took part in the review and scoring process for the spring scholarships.
While these applicants are all excellent students, they also have considerable financial need that makes affording college a struggle. I am deeply grateful for these scholarships, which provide life-changing opportunities to the students of NPC. I cannot overstate how important scholarships are, especially to first-generation students.
Michaelea Nez, an awardee from Fort Defiance, wrote the following in a thank-you note to the NPCFF board: “I am so very thrilled and thankful to have been selected as the recipient of [this scholarship]. I appreciate you all for supporting my education and giving me the opportunity to get a step closer to reaching my goals. I hope that you all know that receiving this scholarship benefits me in so many ways, not just financially. Because of your scholarship, I gain self-confidence, inspiration to better improve my writing, and motivation to pursue my education to completion.”
Since fall 2014, NPC Friends and Family has awarded over 400 scholarships to NPC students, making a tremendous difference in their pursuit of a post-secondary education.