The Legacy of Education

“Education is the one gift you can give someone that will last a lifetime,” says Janice Hall, founder of the Raymond G. “Dick” Hall Jr. Scholarship.

Dick was an alumnus of Southwestern Adventist University. As a student of math and biology, he kept very busy on campus. Involved with music and the Church, education became more than classwork. It became his passion.

“I remember my husband talking about the wonderful religion classes at Southwestern,” says Janice. “He and other students would preach, and he enjoyed going out with the mission band. He felt at home.”

Dick continued his education at Union College, then Loma Linda University. Afterwards, he became a teacher. Teaching students to love education became his life goal. For 43 years, Dick made a difference in the lives of countless young people as a teacher.

Shortly after celebrating 53 years of marriage with Janice, Dick passed away. Janice wanted to continue to help students as Dick had. So, she created a scholarship in Dick’s honor. It’s given to outstanding math students at Southwestern each year.

“Education can be expensive, and my husband spent his entire career teaching,” says Janice. “Hopefully, this scholarship will continue to help people for the next 20 years or more.”

Zuri Cortes is a recent recipient of the award. People told Zuri, “You can’t study math. That’s a strange interest for a girl. Aim lower.” And then, “Find a different dream.”

So many people discouraged Zuri from choosing a math major that she began to listen. She began to doubt that math was the right career path for her.

Zuri never saw herself as a teacher and had no idea what to do with a math degree. Although she loved math more than anything, Zuri chose a more “appropriate” major. Still, she signed up for pre-calculus “just for fun.”

Pre-calculus became Zuri’s favorite class. Her teacher recognized talent and encouraged her to pursue her original dream, sharing a book about different careers with a math degree.

It turns out there is more to math than teaching. She saw that one job mentioned in the book was called actuarial science. The job applies math and statistics to assess levels of risk in different industries. Zuri was looking into actuarial science when she received a homework assignment that changed everything. She had to teach a math lesson in class. Much to her surprise, Zuri loved every minute.

“I actually had so much fun that I thought, ‘this might not be so bad,’” said Zuri. The idea hesitantly grew from a back-up plan to Zuri’s first choice career. Also, Zuri loves the mission field. Teaching and mission work easily fit together.

“Teachers are not there just to give information, but to change lives,” said Zuri. “This is especially true with Adventist education. A teacher can change the life of a student forever. I want to do that.” Even though Zuri has been discouraged from pursuing math initially, she finally had discovered a world of possibilities in math, including the Raymond G. “Dick” Hall Jr. Scholarship.

 

Due to cost, many students don’t believe higher education is an option, but willingness to work can make it possible. Zuri studies and works hard. She serves as a student volunteer on the advisory board of the Association of Adventist Mathematicians, and was president of the Math and Science Club the last two years. She is a math tutor, piano teacher, and violin teacher. She plays in the orchestra and string quartet, and sings with the University Singers. She is also in Southwestern’s Honors Program.

All these things combined with good grades made Zuri an easy choice for the Raymond G. “Dick” Hall Jr. Scholarship. As a future teacher, Zuri will continue to inspire students to love education, just as Dick did. Thanks to scholarships, she can be the person who makes all the difference in another’s life.

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