H. Thomas Waring World Fund
Established in 2004 by Trustee Emeritus H. Thomas Waring to assist students who are enrolled in the Master of Arts in Teaching Program with study-abroad internship expenses in The Gambia. The fund also supports collaborative educational activities through the College's PEACE program with the University of The Gambia.
Recipient 2014-15: Abdoulie Jabang
Recipient 2013-14: Sara Wubbenhorst
Recipients 2012-13: Gena Hlavinka, Elise Kielek, and Abigail MacLean-Blevins
Recipients 2011-12: Jessica Garner, Sarah Shipley, Alexandra Skiest, and Kelly Stoeckle
Recipients 2010-11: Marc Pirner and Christopher Rodkey
Recipients 2009-10: Lauren Gill and Jevanina Schettini
Recipients 2008-09: Matthew Adams, Avanti Fernandez, Sara Greenback, Catherine Koch, Aubrey Lawrence, and Renee Wilburn
Recipients 2007-08: Ashley Fussell, Sharlitta Myrick, and Jaclyn Sumner
"Being a non-traditional student has been both a benefit and a detriment," Cheryl White simply states. "When I began my academic quest, I felt intimidated by younger students. Initially, I saw traditional vs. non-traditional as a competition in which I was disadvantaged. It took a while for me to shed that attitude and to work at just making my academic career a competition of self."
Cheryl began taking classes at St. Mary's in the summer of 2004 after she was forced to change jobs.
"I used to work at a local radio station but was fired in August 1999. Shortly afterward a friend of ours who taught in the Calvert County Public Schools encouraged me to try substitute teaching. I was asked to take a six-week substitute teaching position at Huntingtown Elementary School -- which lasted for two years. During that time I was mentored and encouraged by several teachers to return to school and seek certification. I began taking classes part-time while continuing to teach.
"After earning an associate's degree, I decided to continue my academic pursuit at St. Mary's. For me, the College was a perfect fit. I needed an academic atmosphere that was intimate and St. Mary's has proved to be a place where I could have personal relationships with instructors and fellow students."
Cheryl not only chose to get her bachelor's degree, she also chose to participate in a key component of a liberal arts education - study abroad - and was a teacher intern in The Gambia in the fall of 2005. This internship carries with it a scholarship and is part of the newly created Waring World Fund, established by Trustee Emeritus H. Thomas Waring.
"When I first heard about the opportunity to participate in an international student internship, I immediately concluded that I couldn't possibly do something like that. After all, I had lots of responsibilities, or so I thought," Cheryl continues, "I soon realized I had no legitimate reasons not to pursue it. I felt compelled, well, almost 'called' to do it. I told Dr. Dudderar [former director of student teaching at St. Mary's] that I was going to go to The Gambia, but that no one else knew it yet.
"I am married to Conrad White and have an adult daughter, Adrianne. I was just a tiny bit unsure of my husband's response, but I should not have been. After all, this is the same person who has supported me continuously in all my efforts. He was encouraging and excited for me right from the start. He noted that 'it was an opportunity that I could not pass up.'
"My experiences in The Gambia were life changing. Prior to this trip, I had never traveled alone -- that was an adventure in and of itself. One incident that stands out occurred just before the end of Ramadan. I traveled to Banjul, the capital of The Gambia, with Baboucarr Jallow, my language and culture instructor. The streets were full of cars and people. Everyone was preparing for the feast day and doing lots of shopping. We were in the market area that was jam-packed with shoppers and street vendors. There was no such thing as personal space. There were hoards of people everywhere who were busily coming and going. I was concentrating on keeping my eye on Baboucarr, so as not to get lost in this sea of humanity.
"Right in the middle of this chaos, I encountered an older woman who looked straight at me as though she knew me and with a smile said, 'Welcome home.' As quickly as she approached, she departed and continued on her way. Even Baboucarr noticed this encounter. He asked me, 'Did you hear what she said to you?'
"I heard it loud and clear in the midst of all the madness. It was an encounter that meant more to me than she will ever know. At that moment, I knew for sure that I was really 'home.'"