ALBANY, N.Y., June 13, 2007 - Each year, hundreds of New York State United Teachers local unions show how much they value education by awarding scholarships worth millions of dollars to graduating students. This year is no different.
"Giving out scholarships is only one way teachers and other education professionals show how much they care about their students," said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi. "All year long, they work hard to help them achieve in the classroom. But the awards surely help the students pursue their dreams of going on to college and other higher education programs."
For example, the United Federation of Teachers, NYSUT's New York City affiliate, divides $1 million among 200 deserving students each year for the Albert Shanker Scholarship Awards, commemorating the union pioneer.
NYSUT's higher education affiliate - United University Professions - through its Scholarship Trust Fund and Benefit Trust, gives out many scholarships each year. UUP represents academic and professional faculty at the State University of New York.
The Catskill Teachers Association gives four of its six end-of-the-year awards to graduates going into teaching; Copenhagen Central School TA awards $250 to a future educator; and the Amityville TA and Marcellus Faculty Association both award substantial prizes to those seniors planning on entering the field of teaching. East Islip TA gives out five scholarships of $1,500 each for students going into nursing. New this year are the Buffalo Teachers Federation's "Make A Dream Come True" program which will give 20 students $500 awards.
"It's validation for everything students have done in the past four years," said Michael Hunt, president of the Mahopac TA, which gives more than $7,000 in scholarships. "We get to see the looks of pride on their faces but - more importantly - they get to see the looks of pride on their teachers' faces."
Local unions find many ways to finance scholarships. The North Colonie TA raises money by staging humorous sketches in an all-faculty talent show. Amityville teachers donate to a "spirit fund" for dress-down Fridays. Brockport TA funds scholarships by holding a carnival in March and donating profits from faculty vending machines, while the Berlin TA finances a scholarship through proceeds from a play that will be put on entirely by faculty members.
NYSUT represents more than 585,000 teachers, school-related professionals, academic and professional faculty in higher education, professionals in education and health care, and retirees. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.
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