By Sean Barron
Kristen Cartwright fondly recalled her high-school days that entailed working with students who faced a variety of challenges and difficulties.
Her efforts easily can be viewed as a prelude to her career choice: work as an intervention specialist for those with emotional and mental challenges.
First, though, is the business of finishing one more semester at Youngstown State University — a task made much easier because she was a recipient of a $1,000 scholarship.
“I want to work with special-needs students to help them reach real success and be all they can be,” the 2008 Boardman High School graduate said at a recent Mahoning Retired Teachers Association meeting at Antone’s Banquet Center, 8578 Market St.
Cartwright was one of four YSU students to have received scholarships during the association’s November meeting.
The 975-member organization, formed in 1947, seeks to protect retired teachers’ rights largely by acting as a watchdog group that oversees legislative action related to retirees’ pension plans and health-care benefits, noted Linda Vuletich, president. To that end, the MRTA, which meets six times annually, sends a liaison to Columbus to attend hearings and meetings and bring back pertinent information, she explained.
In addition, the association networks with organizations such as the Ohio Retired Teachers Association on cost-of-living adjustments as well as bills that have the potential to affect retirees, said Mary Ann Tavolario, the MRTA’s public-relations chairwoman.
In high school, Cartwright served as a student aide and assumed duties that included helping fellow students with schoolwork, she recalled, adding that she also is an intern at Springfield Intermediate School and might consider attending graduate school.
Also thrilled to have taken home a scholarship was Julianne Dundee of Canfield, a YSU senior and 2009 South Range High School graduate.
“I’m greatly honored to receive this scholarship,” the special-education major said.
Dundee, who also has a part-time job at Handel’s Ice Cream, said she intends to become a student teacher this spring. For now, Dundee is happy being in a pre-student-teaching program at Campbell Memorial High School, she added.
The two other scholarship recipients in attendance were Linsey Harris and Mark Popovec.
Eligible recipients for MRTA scholarships must carry a minimum 3.0 grade-point average, present two letters of recommendation from a YSU professor, family member or friend, and be a full-time student, noted Joyce Mistovich, chairwoman of the association’s scholarship committee.
Another requirement is submitting an essay stating what the applicant feels are his or her qualifications, with reflections on education, she said.
“[The $1,000 scholarships] definitely will assist them as they move on to student teaching,” Mistovich added.
Also receiving financial assistance at the session was Canfield-based American Legion Post 177, which was handed a $672 check in recognition of and appreciation for veterans.
Milt Kocher, a post member, spoke on behalf of veterans’ service to their country. He and fellow member Mike Kubitza also made up the color guard at the meeting, which included the playing of taps.