Ruth Guilford wins scholarship, reunites with teacher

From left, Lesley University Provost Selase Williams, Graduate School of Education Dean Jack Gillette, Timocracy Foundation scholarship recipients Ruth Guilford and Kristin Lambert, and Assistant Dean Harriet Deane. — Photo courtesy of Lesley University

Ruth Guilford, a former Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School (MVPCS) student and assistant teacher, recently received the 2011-2012 Timocracy Scholarship from Lesley University. The scholarship provides her with $5,000 toward her studies at Lesley’s Graduate School of Education in Cambridge as a master of education degree candidate in elementary education, with a reading specialty.

As part of her scholarship application, Ms. Guilford, formerly from Vineyard Haven, was asked to reach out to a teacher who was a positive influence in her life. She chose Dorothy “Dede” Hagen, her sixth grade teacher at the Charter School in 1997. Ms. Guilford served as a teacher assistant at the Charter School from 2008-2011.

The gesture prompted a memorable reunion, which Ms. Guilford described at the scholarship award ceremony on September 7, attended by university officials and founders of the Timocracy Foundation.

The foundation was established in 2008 in memory of 17-year-old Timothy Orefice of Madison, Conn., who was killed in a car accident.

His sister, Kimberly Orefice Turner, is a 2007 graduate of Lesley’s School of Education. She initiated the teacher scholarship program to award $5,000 annually to two of the school’s future master’s of education candidates in early childhood or elementary education.

“I didn’t just fall into education,” Ms. Guilford said during the award ceremony. “I always knew I wanted to be a teacher, and I want to have a positive impact on the lives of young children… I can’t thank you enough for this scholarship.”

“Ruthie was professional every day and quickly impressed the Charter School community with her joy of teaching, friendly approach to students and professionalism as a colleague,” MVPCS director Bob Moore wrote in an email to The Times when asked about his former staff member. “Ruthie will continue to impact students’ lives in a positive way for many years to come.”