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Jo Ellen Diehl Yeary | Generosity rooted in pride, remembrance, dedication to home

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Former Students Create The Lee Beckett Legacy Scholarship Fund

leeFormer Students Create The Lee Beckett Legacy Scholarship Fund

In 2011, two York High School alumni established the Lee Beckett Legacy Scholarship Fund to honor their former high school teacher, Mrs. Lee Beckett, and her steadfast devotion to her students throughout her 43 -year career. The Lee Beckett Legacy Scholarship Fund provides scholarship opportunities for graduating Nelsonville-York seniors pursuing post-secondary studies, either full or part-time, at an accredited vocational or technical training program, community college, college or university. Beckett’s first teaching position was at the then York High School, and the encouragement and support she provided students enabled them to believe in their ability to succeed.

“When I began teaching in the York school district I encountered classrooms full of students who’d always been told they simply weren’t college material. From day 1, and for the next four decades, I worked with those students to help change that perception and instill in them the values of furthering their educations,” said Lee Beckett. “I was determined to help my students fulfill their potential no matter what.”

The two former students who established the Lee Beckett Legacy Scholarship Fund chose to keep their names anonymous to ensure the focus remained on charitable giving in recognition of Lee’s great work over the years in influencing countless young adults.

“We consider ourselves extremely fortunate to have had an amazing teacher and mentor in Lee Beckett when we attended high school. Lee taught us that continuing our education was not only possible, but essential to getting ahead in life,” said the Fund’s founders. 

Though familiar with supporting nonprofit organizations, these two individuals were unsure of how to best focus their giving in the region.

“Growing up in Appalachian Ohio, we have always been aware of how difficult it can be for some to further their education and succeed in this area. We were lucky to come across the Foundation by chance while making a visit to Nelsonville. What we liked about FAO was their commitment to improving the region where we grew up. We quickly realized they had both the resources and knowledge to help us meet our goals in giving back.”

The Lee Beckett Legacy Scholarship Fund has already awarded scholarships in Athens County with more on the way. With donations from the community and others, the Fund can continue to grow and serve the region as we all work to achieve Lee’s vision for education:

“I’ve always asked my students what they might want to be someday if the ideal opportunity was available to them. I found that far too many of these students had never even considered the possibility that they could choose whatever career they wanted as they left high school. My dream is that, as a whole, our community and region always strives to create more and more of these opportunities for our students. And just as importantly, we must continue in our mission to help each of them arrive at these important moments prepared and hungry for success.”

Make an online donation through Network for Good, designating the Lee Beckett Legacy Scholarship Fund or contact the Foundation for more information at 740.753.1111.