TURLOCK, Calif. — March 20, 2013 — Rosemary Ann Silva spent most of her career helping Central Valley teachers earn and renew their credentials. Her family has chosen to remember her with a posthumous gift to aid credential students at California State University, Stanislaus.
Silva's family members — husband Larry and daughters Suzanne and Kimberly — have made a substantial donation to fund the Rosemary Ann Silva Scholarship Endowment for students in the university's credential program. Recipients of the annual award will be known as Silva Scholars and will receive $1,000 scholarships to be applied to tuition, fees, books and supplies.
"The generosity of the Silva family will provide scholarships to new generations of teachers who can inspire and instill a love of learning in our schools," said Oddmund Myhre, interim dean of the College of Education. "Many of our credential candidates are the first in their family to receive a university education. These scholarships will help young men and women who want to become teachers fulfill their dreams."
The scholarship is open to any full-time credential student with a minimum grade-point average of 2.5. Up to three scholarships will be awarded annually, and preference will be given to students with financial need and those from Merced County. The first scholarship is expected to be awarded later this year.
Silva, a graduate of Merced High School, worked with the Merced County Office of Education for 28 years. Mostly self-taught, she quickly learned the ins and outs of teacher credentialing and became a respected authority on the subject, often receiving requests for advice and teacher candidates from Valley superintendents and Sacramento officials.
"She was pretty green when she first started; she had to learn it," Larry Silva said. "But she became one of the best in the state when it came to knowing the laws of credentialing. She would mentor and advise the new teachers getting credentials. She always said, 'If they listen to me, there will be no problems.'"
Larry Silva was a dairyman who served on the McSwain Union Elementary school board and later wound up teaching for 12 years at his wife's suggestion and with her advice. Their daughters have both found careers in education, as well — Suzanne Fagundes graduated from Fresno State and is now principal of Allan Peterson Elementary School in Merced; Kimberly Johnson is a CSU Stanislaus graduate and teaches at Buhach Colony High School in Atwater.
Larry said the family wanted to make a donation in Rosemary's memory, and CSU Stanislaus was a good fit because of the quality of its credential programs and its role in providing the Central Valley with qualified teachers. Rosemary also spoke to classes at CSU Stanislaus and was friends with Elmano Costa, chair of the Department of Teacher Education.
"There are many school administrators who got their start when she credentialed them," Larry Silva said. "She was self-taught and well respected, and we wanted to keep her name out there as someone who is continuing to help new teachers."