Scholarship Celebrates Homemaker Achiever

El Vaquero Staff Writer

Scholarship winner Narda Crew never met her benefactor, Jean Cunningham.

A scholarship for accomplished homemakers who are juggling raising a family and getting a college education has been renamed in memory of the original founder, Cunningham.

Former psychology instructor at Glendale Community College, Cunningham passed away March 21. She left many lasting marks on the college. Among them were her efforts to establish the Homemaker Scholarship Award, which she ultimately endowed.

In memory of Cunningham, the scholarship has been renamed to “Jeanne Cunningham Homemaker Academic Scholarship,” said Angela Battaglia, scholarship program coordinator.

In honor of the scholarship being renamed in her memory, the Associated Students made a contribution of $1,250.

A student, male or female, who meets the high standards, wins the homemaker award annually.

To qualify, the student needs to meet the following criteria; first the student needs to have completed over 50 units as of June of the current year at GCC with a GPA above 3.5, and be ready to transfer to a four-year college.

The student also needs to have attended GCC for a minimum of five semesters. And, most importantly, the student applying for the scholarship needs to have continuing responsibilities of homemaking and caring for one or more minor child.

This year’s winner was Narda Crew, who has been attending Glendale for about nine years. Crew is currently studying child development, taking general education courses, and is also currently enrolled in Pacific Oaks University in Pasadena, working toward her bachelor’s in human development with a multiple subject teaching credential.

Crew has been a preschool teacher for 10 years and plans to teach at the elementary level. “I’m also entertaining the idea of someday teaching at Glendale College,” she said.

Like Cunningham, Crew also came to GCC as a student in the Adult Re-entry Program. Crew had always intended to complete her degree but marriage and children had postponed her plan. “Ultimately it was my children who inspired me to go back to school and study child development,” said Crew. Her family has been understanding and supportive of her studies, but she admits there have been times when her family has been frustrated by her juggling family, work, and school.

“I believe it was my dedication to my family, my own education, and working through the struggle in keeping the two in balance that helped me to obtain the scholarship… it has been a long haul,” Crew said.
There were two main reasons for Cunningham establishing a scholarship specifically for a homemaker student, explained Jessica Gillooly, GCC Psychology Professor.

First, Cunningham was a returning student herself and knew what it was like to have the responsibility of taking care of the house and children.

The second reason was that there was a male faculty member who said to her, after she was on staff at GCC as a professor, that women who return to college were just “dilettantes” and really weren’t serious about their education.

“That upset Jeanne greatly,” said Gillooly, who was Cunningham’s long-time friend. “She felt that if he thought that, then there could be other faculty members who also thought returning women students are just playing around and are not serious about their education,” said Gillooly.

That incident disturbed Cunningham, eventually motivating her to take her own money and fund the homemaker scholarship.

“Cunningham wanted to show all of the faculty that there are women who are homemakers and who take care of children and are transferring to four-year universities and that they are serious about their education,” Gillooly added.

Furthermore, in memory of Cunningham, the Campus Development Governance Committee approved the memorial that will include a garden and a water fountain with a plaque placed on the wall.

The construction of the Jeanne Cunningham Memorial will be completed by Spring 2005. It will be next to the North Gym.

Although Crew never had the opportunity to meet Cunningham, she said she feels honored to have won the $1,000 scholarship in her name.
“She was really dedicated at bringing to reality the belief of her dreams,” Crew said. “She really rocked the boat in a lot of ways that brought positive changes. I hope that I too make a positive change as she did.”