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UC Senior Awarded For Her Commitment to Teaching Young Children

The honor is the result of a gift from two UC alumnae who were dedicated to education and to supporting the dreams of future teachers.

Date: 5/12/2014 1:30:00 PM
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823

UC ingot   Shari Herold of Cheviot is looking ahead to a whirlwind senior year at the University of Cincinnati.
Shari Herold and son, Elijah.
Shari Herold and son, Elijah.

The 21-year-old early childhood education major will be juggling classes, student teaching second grade at College Hill School and tackling the challenges of being a single mom to her 9-month-old son, Elijah. “I type some of my papers one-handed and do a lot of other things after his bedtime,” she says. But despite all the demands and obligations, an award from the UC College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH) will financially help make Herold’s senior year a little easier.

Herold is the recipient of the 2014 Pearl M. Wright Award, which honors an outstanding senior’s commitment to teaching young children. Not only can she use her $13,000 award for tuition and books and such, but she can also apply the award toward housing and other living costs.

A CECH tradition since 1999, the Pearl M. Wright Award comes from a $660,000 endowment established by Kathryn E. Wright, named in memory of her sister. Both women graduated from CECH in the 1920s, dedicated their careers to education and shared a home in Clifton.

Pearl M. Wright was 96 years old when she died in 1990. Kathryn’s will was written in 1992, four years prior to her death at age 95. Her will established the award as a tribute to her sister, specifying that the annual award honor a UC senior who “best exemplifies high moral and academic standards of a primary teacher – who is sensitive, loving and understanding of little children.”

Herold got a head start on college as a junior at Oak Hills High School by participating in UC’s Post Secondary Enrollment Options Program (PSEOP), in which high school students earn college credit and/or high school graduation credit when they take classes at UC.

She says she started at UC as a sociology major, but eventually felt that early childhood education was a better route to initiating positive changes in society. “If you want to have a huge impact on society, you need to start with children. I’m truly amazed by them,” says Herold. “A huge part of early childhood education blends social and emotional elements: teaching children pro-social skills and about working together toward a common goal.”

Herold is also dedicated to supporting children experiencing struggles at a very young age, and hopes to eventually teach in Cincinnati Public Schools. “I went through a lot of transitions in my childhood and I feel that I can relate to the transiency and stress in some of these children’s lives,” says Herold.

“Shari is a gifted student who began her college coursework while still in high school,” says Sally Moomaw, a UC assistant professor of teacher education. “She is involved with educational volunteer work both in child care centers and on a personal level, where she maintains contact with a preschool-age child who came from a turbulent background and has experienced periods of homelessness. She believes in the ability of all children to succeed when given the necessary support. I am deeply moved that an individual who is already juggling the demands of parenthood and full-time studies makes time in her life to directly impact those in need.”

Herold says her first student preschool practicum experience was at UC’s Arlitt Child and Family Research and Education Center, an award-winning laboratory preschool which also has a blended Head Start and tuition program. Providing more than 85 years of educational excellence for children 3 to 5 years old, the center is one of the oldest and most diverse preschool programs in the United States. It was the first Cincinnati preschool staffed by teachers who were specifically trained in early childhood education.

“I remember on my first day there, I almost started crying during group time, because coming from working at other education centers – where I tried to do my best, but we didn’t have the resources – Arlitt was such a wonderful experience. There is a lot of need and a lot of potential among students in Cincinnati.”

Photo by Feifei Pang
Photo by Feifei Pang

Herold was also the recipient of the college’s 2014 Jeanette Bertram Chapman annual scholarship to support UC students planning to become future teachers of elementary school-age children. The scholarship is named in honor of a CECH alumna who at one time taught kindergarten-aged children in Cincinnati Public Schools. Jeanette Bertram Chapman (A&S, 1926, CECH, 1927) was active in student organizations on campus, and was a member of UC’s former Alpha Eta chapter of Zeta Tau Alpha Fraternity. A lifelong Cincinnatian, she eventually became national president of the sorority. The alumnae organization that owned the former UC Zeta Tau Alpha chapter house worked with UC to sell the house for construction on what is now the 10-acre Tudor-style Stratford Heights Complex. Construction on that project began in 2003 and the housing complex opened in 2005. The sale of the sorority house property funded the Jeanette Bertram Chapman annual scholarship as well as another one of her philanthropies, the YWCA.

“These donors believed in the power of early childhood educators to make a difference in the lives of children and in the future of society,” says Herold. “I feel honored to be a part of the exceptional early childhood education program at UC, which emphasizes philosophies and methodologies that truly respect the potential of all young learners.

“Being selected for the Pearl M. Wright Award is one of the best experiences of my life,” says Herold. “By developing the portfolio to be considered for the award, it gave me an opportunity to reflect on my own educational process, and gave me a chance to step back and reflect on my values and goals. It’s a huge honor.”

In addition to Herold’s $13,000 Pearl M. Wright Award, an additional $12,000 was distributed to other finalists, bringing the total Pearl M. Wright funding awarded this year to $25,000. The selections were considered from student-submitted portfolios and an interview process by a seven-member committee of CECH faculty, staff and administrators.

Pearl M. Wright Runner-Up Award

Lauren Payne

Pearl M. Wright Finalist Award

Meredith Bodkin
Kaitlyn Tyler

UC’s College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH) has been dedicated to excellence in teaching for 108 years.  In addition to preparing students to work in diverse communities, the college provides continual professional development and fosters education leadership at the local, state, national and international levels.

UC’s teacher education programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).