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PROFILE: Two UC Seniors Awarded for Devotion to Children

A dedication to teaching young children has earned a scholarship for two UC students.

Date: 8/18/2003 8:00:00 AM
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Dottie Stover
UC ingot Two University of Cincinnati early childhood education majors will receive a full year of financial support because of their dedication to teaching young children. The honor reflects the legacy of two sisters who graduated from UC generations ago.

Julia Rogers, left, and Lorie Lech
Julia Rogers, left, and Lorie Lech

Lorie Lech of North College Hill and Julia Rogers of Madeira are the 2003 recipients of the Pearl M. Wright Award from the UC College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services. The award can be used toward tuition, fees and living expenses.

The award honors the memory of UC alumna Pearl M. Wright, who dedicated 30 years of her career to educating children in the community. Her sister, Kathryn, also a long-time educator who graduated from UC in 1924, established the award in her will, to be given to the student who “best exemplifies high moral and academic standards of a primary teacher – who is sensitive, loving and understanding of little children.” The award comes from a bequest that established the endowed fund.

“Each year, it gets more difficult to select recipients of the award because of the large number of highly qualified applicants,” says Regina Sapona, associate dean for academic affairs, College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services. “The selection committee is very confident that Lorie and Julia will make great contributions to the field of early childhood education through their teaching and work in the community.”

Lorie Lech
Lorie Lech

Lorie Lech, 21, a graduate of McAuley High School, says she discovered the pathway to her future career while working in a mentoring program at Schiel Elementary in Corryville. “Just to hear them say, ‘I love you.’ Just to hear them say that you’re the reason they want to come here – it’s a feeling that’s indescribable.” Lech’s senior year at UC will include a full-time teaching internship in a first grade classroom at Oakdale Elementary School. She wants to dedicate her career to working in urban classrooms.

Julia Rogers
Julia Rogers

Julia Rogers, 23, a graduate of Cincinnati Country Day School, says it was her own childhood challenges in the classroom that evolved into a passion for teaching. “I was diagnosed with a learning disability in the second grade, and it was the support of the people around me – my teachers and my parents – that helped smooth my journey of learning. Because the disability was treated as a positive experience in that everyone learns differently, I felt empowered.”

Rogers also has worked with children in an after-school program, and this fall she’ll begin her teaching internship at Pleasant Run Elementary.  “It’s really rewarding, watching their discovery and their curiosity. It gives you a different perspective on the world.”

Both women say the Pearl M. Wright award will allow them to dedicate even more of their enthusiasm to the classroom. “I’ve been paying my tuition since I started at UC,” says Lech. “This year, I really wanted to put everything into my teaching internship, and this award will allow me to cut back on some of my work hours.”

“This has been a very affirming process,” adds Rogers. “I feel so lucky that I can carry on the Wright sisters’ legacy of dedicating ourselves to education. It’s exciting to be able to do what you’re passionate about.”


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