Atwater family funds credential scholarship at CSU, Stanislaus

03/20/2013 11:41 PM

03/20/2013 11:42 PM

A lifelong Atwater resident and his daughters donated $100,000 to California State University, Stanislaus, to help students seeking teaching credentials to pay for their education.

Larry Silva and his daughters, Suzanne Fagundes and Kimberly Johnson, made the donation in honor of his wife, Rosemary Ann Silva, who died last July after a three-year battle with lung cancer.

Silva said his wife, who was 71, was a credential analyst at the Merced County Office of Education for 28 years and retired in 2003. Helping teachers become credentialed was a big part of her job.

A Merced High School graduate, she would conduct seminars for CSU, Stanislaus, students about the requirements they needed to fulfill to get their credentials, and what they had to do after completing the program.

"We are going to take care of the people who she took care of," Silva said of the students who will benefit from the money. "Her name will go on."

The Rosemary Ann Silva Scholarship Endowment will provide a $1,000 scholarship to be followed by three scholarships annually beginning next year, Larry said.

Elmano Costa, chairman of the Department of Teacher Education, said the money from the donation will benefit students, especially since tuition has risen over the last few years.

Credential students attend school for an additional year after completing their bachelor's degree, he said. In addition to those expenses, some of them can't work because they are doing student teaching, which is unpaid, Costa said.

Students pay about $9,000 in tuition and school-related costs during their fifth year, he said. "This will allow some students who are having some difficulty to complete the program," he said.

Last year, 200 credential students graduated from CSU, Stanislaus, Costa said.

Preference for the scholarship will be given to students from Merced County who show financial need and have at least a 2.5-grade point average, Costa said. Being from Merced County won't be a requirement.

Costa, who got to work with Rosemary, said she was very dedicated to her job. "I think her family recognized her commitment," he said.

UC Merced doesn't have a teaching credential program. Costa said only a few schools in the UC system have such programs, explaining that they are primarily offered by CSUs.

Reporter Yesenia Amaro can be reached at (209) 385-2482 or yamaro@mercedsunstar.com.

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