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First Recipients of The Curtis Fund Commitment: A Comprehensive Scholarship for Early Childhood Educators

Addie Riche Curtis ECE scholarship

image: Addie Riche reading with a young child at the Mary Johnson Children's Center in Middlebury

The Curtis Fund, a supporting organization of the Vermont Community Foundation, is pleased to announce the first recipients of a bold scholarship program for Vermonters seeking to become early childhood educators. The Curtis Fund Commitment: A Comprehensive Scholarship for Early Childhood Educators is a pilot program that will provide scholarships for the full cost of attendance (tuition, fees, housing, food, and transportation) to students who wish to earn a certificate in child care at the Community College of Vermont (CCV).

The first three scholarship recipients have been chosen and applications are still being accepted for enrollment for Fall 2023. One of the recipients is Addie Riche, a high school senior enrolled at the Patricia Hannaford Career Center and Middlebury Union High School. Riche said, “This scholarship will have a big positive impact on my future and my future career goals in terms of the early childhood field.”

Other scholarship recipients include Emily Cousino also from the Patricia Hannaford Career Center and Mount Abraham Union Middle and High School and Tela Dykes from Burr and Burton Academy.

“The high cost of educating early childhood educators and the low wages they earn upon graduation is a significant deterrent for students interested in entering the profession,” said Shana Trombley, executive director of The Curtis Fund. “This is why The Curtis Fund is providing comprehensive scholarships to help students earn the education they need to launch their careers as early childhood educators—debt free.”

Child care certificate graduates must complete a 24-hour credit program and obtain one year of classroom experience to qualify as a Teacher Associate. According to Let’s Grow Kids, another supporting organization of the Community Foundation, Teacher Associates could fill an estimated 1,600 of the 2,090 openings for early childhood educators in Vermont. The Certificate program also is “stackable” so students may choose to continue their education to earn an associate or bachelor’s degree in early childhood education.

Scholarship recipients also receive guidance from the professionals at the Vermont Association for the Education of Young Children (VTAEYC) as they make their postsecondary education and career decisions. “Vermont families need skilled and passionate early childhood educators. We are excited about The Curtis Fund Commitment scholarship program because it rewards students for starting a path toward a fulfilling career in early childhood education,” said Paula Nadeau, ECE Workforce Development Specialist at VTAEYC.

For more information The Curtis Fund Commitment: A Comprehensive Scholarship for Early Childhood Educators and to learn how to apply, please contact or call 802 387-0870.