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Generations of Generosity


Generations of Generosity: How a Teacher and Her Legacy Are Inspiring Others to Give Back


The Lee Beckett Legacy Scholarship Fund, established in 2011, provides scholarship opportunities to graduating Nelsonville-York seniors. Below, Terry and Susie Conner share why they established the scholarship fund; a 2013 recipient, Alicia Carter, shares the impact that the scholarship had for her education and career; and Lee Beckett shares why she has worked so hard to inspire others. Learn more about FAO’s scholarship awards at www.AppalachianOhio.org/Scholarships.

As a young girl with Italian immigrant heritage, Lee Beckett was often viewed as an outsider and discouraged from pursuing her goals. However, Lee dreamed of becoming a teacher, and she worked hard to make that dream a reality. Throughout her 43 year career, Lee inspired her countless students to dream big too.

“I wanted every student to be proud of where they came from, and I wanted them to feel like they could become what they wanted to become, if they were willing to put the work into it,” said Lee. “Many of my students had never been told that they were college material or that they were able to do anything – but I changed that in every class I taught. I changed their minds. And I used myself as an example.”

Terry and Susie Conner

Among Lee’s students at York High School, now Nelsonville-York, were Terry and Susie Conner.

“While we were blessed with many good teachers, no other single person believed in us or encouraged us as much as Lee did,” said Terry. “Without her belief in us and her support, we feel sure our lives would not have been as fulfilling. We are eternally grateful for her help and a lifetime of friendship.”

Establishing a scholarship fund to support students continuing their education was the best way Terry and Susie could think to thank Lee for the impact she had on their lives. At the same time, the Fund also allowed the Conners to support other students with the educational opportunities that they viewed as so crucial to their own lives and success.

“York High School gave us what we needed to move forward in the world, and it’s part of who we are. We wanted to help others have the same opportunities,” said Susie.

Terry echoed, “Supporting scholarships is a way to reach out and change a life here and there. It’s a difference we have to make.”

Lee Beckett and Alicia Carter

Alicia Carter received the Lee Beckett Legacy Scholarship in 2013. She is now working her dream job as a 10th grade language arts teacher at Nelsonville-York Schools.

“Teaching at the district you grew up in is magical,” Alicia said. “You know what you’re walking into; you know what the kids are going through. Having that shared experience has been really important. I really do love our district.”

Alicia’s career was partially inspired by her scholarship and the friendship she developed with Lee thereafter.

“Education had always been a thought in the back of my head,” said Alicia. “Meeting Lee and seeing how she was able to inspire change and positivity through her role helped show me that’s what I wanted to do too.”

Now, Alicia is working tirelessly as an educator to continue Lee’s legacy of inspiring students through education (including by sharing books with her students received through FAO’s partnership with First Book).

“Being an educator is one of the most trying but rewarding professions there is,” Alicia said.

Lee is honored by the scholarships awarded in her name, but for her, the most important thing continues to be the success of all her students – whether pupils from her days as an educator, like Terry and Susie, or scholarship recipients she has mentored, like Alicia.

“When Terry and Susie Conner established this scholarship, I was flabbergasted to be honest. Gee, I was honored very much,” said Lee. “I never expected anything like that because, as far as I was concerned, the progress that so many of my students have made is enough to last me a lifetime. I’m very proud of so many of my students. They have just done beautifully.”

To join Lee Beckett’s legacy of inspiration, visit AppalachianOhio.org, click ‘Give Today,’ and designate the Lee Beckett Legacy Scholarship Fund when donating. To honor an educator or someone else who made a difference in your life, contact the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio at 740.753.1111 or info@ffao.org to discuss establishing a named fund to support a community, school, or cause that’s important to you.