Supporting the Next Generation of Montana Teachers
The newly founded Peters Education Scholarship, established by Ken and Linda Peters, has been awarded to its first four recipients: Cailey DenBoer, Kindel Hugs, Ellie Johnson and Alexis Higareda.
Cailey DenBoer is a senior at Montana Western from Lincoln, Mont. and is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a minor in early childhood education with plans to teach in rural western Montana. With a dream to teach at a rural school in Montana after completing her degree in pre-kindergarten through third grade early childhood education, Kindel Hugs, a sophomore at UMW, is also pursuing a minor in K-8th grade education.
Ellie Johnson, a senior from Columbia Falls, Mont. majoring in elementary education will be student teaching in the spring of 2021 and hopes to stay and student teach locally in Dillon or the surrounding area. Alexis Higareda, a native of Libby, Mont. is a junior at Montana Western. Higareda plans on working with students at older elementary or the middle school level and believes that UMW’s Rural Fridays Program, where students from area schools visit the Montana Western campus and attend classes taught by UMW teacher candidates in collaboration with the faculty from the Education Department, has been a great experience for her teaching journey.
A Passion for Education in Montana
Ken Peters has lived in Montana since 1963 when his family moved to Dillon from Nebraska to purchase and manage the local livestock auction where he continued in the business until his retirement from auctioneering in 2018. Linda came to Dillon, Mont., in 1978 when she and Ken married. Born and raised in Mont., Linda graduated from Montana State University with a degree in Business Management in 1971.
Ken and Linda have a family history of multiple inspiring educators, including eight members of Ken’s family and one from Linda’s. This family legacy, along with their belief that providing future teachers with access to an education contributes to a stronger society, inspired them to support the scholarship.
Since living in Dillon, the Peters have been supporters of Montana Western and especially the success that Experience One has seen over the past 15 years. They see the impact that UMW educators can make stating, “Montana Western has always been a Montana school known for producing well-trained teachers that will go out into communities large and small, to educate our future students.” The couple hopes that many of the graduates from the Education Department choose to stay in-state and “use their experience to educate our future students.”
Ken and Linda believe this scholarship is a tool to help those future educators not only achieve their goals, but also to “enable four students each year to graduate without an unreasonable amount of college debt to repay as they begin their teaching careers.”
For more information about the scholarship and the Montana Western Foundation, please email [email protected].