The Edna McMillian Scholarships – ‘Passion, Profession and Parents who Inspire…’
Dr. Dorothy Ann Sisk, founding member of the WCGTC, and long time supporter and contributor to the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children on many different levels, including working the WCGTC journal ‘Gifted & Talented International’ or GTI, having also served as Executive Administrator, on the EC and as a Past President, generously offered to donate two Special scholarships, to the value of $1000.00 Dollars each – to help two individuals, who otherwise would not be able to attend, with their travel costs to the 20th World Conference, in the name of her dear friend and colleague Edna McMillan, former WCGTC EC member also having served as Secretary and Vice President, and who passed away last year.
A second individual, inspired by Dorothy’s generosity, and also a past friend and colleague of Edna’s has further added to the scholarship by anonymously pledging to contribute towards the accommodation for the recipients also in her memory.
The two recipients of this scholarship are:
- Ms. Jen Torbeck-Merrill has a Masters in flute music. She is the professional passionate parent of two 2E children. Jen is the Author of the popular online Blog Laughing at Chaos, where she writes hilarious and uplifting snippets about her life as a 2E Mom and gifted adult. This blog has given great comic relief to innumerable other parents, and the advent of her recent adventure into homeschooling lead to a book offer. Jen’s passion for writing, and her homeschooling efforts, have lead her on a journey that has taken her from parent, to mentor, to author. Her first book is called ‘If this is a Gift, Can I Send it Back?’, published by the Gifted Homeschool Forum (GHF), and has been very well received. Her second book is now in progress. Jen’s Presentation is called: ‘Writer & Homeschooling Parent’.
- Ms. Mary St. George works as the Lead Teacher for ‘Gifted Online’ or ‘GO’, part of a charitable trust in New Zealand. Mary reaches out to students who need enrichment, homeschooled students, those in rural and indigenous communities, as well as supporting the parents through same, a labour of love. She also contributes to and supports other gifted initiatives in her country and abroad, hosting the New Zealand Gifted Awareness Blogtour (#NZGAW) every year. Mary is a parent with three children, one of whom is 2E, and maintains a low income for the charitable work that she does. Mary’s presentation is called: ‘Building a Culture of Meaningful Reflection Among Self Directed Learners Who are Gifted.’
Both recipients will: 1) Give a presentation on an aspect of the work that they do which might add value to the learning and sharing of knowledge at the conference, 2) Form part of a panel, along with Carolyn Kottmeyer of Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page, and Lisa Conrad of #GTChat on Twitter (Powered by TAGT), and possible mystery guests over Skype on a symposium called “Passion, Profession and Parents who Inspire… their stories…” and, 3) Help support the conference, through their networks, encouraging others to attend or possibly present at the conference. Please come listen to these parents Fly their Kites for Giftedness as they share their experience.
Dr. Edna McMillan, who just stepped down from the EC less than two years ago, was a lifelong, esteemed colleague, supporter and member of the WCGTC, giving her life and soul to the organisation. She had served for over 30 years in various capacities, as member, conference organiser, chair, delegate, EC member and Vice President. But mostly it was her humour, sensible and experienced advice and motivational skills that she was known for. Edna will be sorely missed by many, and the WCGTC is very grateful to Dr. Dorothy Sisk for this opportunity to mark her memory in such a wonderful way. Supporting these individuals, we know would make her happy.
The two recipients of the Edna McMillian Scholarships will add a richness to the 20th WCGTC conference. They are ordinary people who are doing extraordinary work within their communities, persistently over an extended period of time, but have not gained/sought any real or great financial or recognition rewards for their efforts and without assistance would not normally have been able to attend. They have good technological, communication, advocacy and motivational skills. They are People who have expressed positive, supportive and generous attitudes towards organisations such as the WCGTC and their work. We are honoured to have them attend.
These people are not only parents, but can also be seen as passionate professionals at what they do, through their backgrounds and hard work. In keeping with the purpose of the Edna McMillan Scholarship: ‘To Acknowledge, not only educators/researchers, but also the very real hard work, sacrifice and ability/strength of Parents to do amazing things for their communities when needed’. This award will celebrate parents creativity, advocacy, motivation and above all courage. Hopefully, hearing their stories, will inspire and encourage others to continue in their work, and maybe even follow in their footsteps, creating inspiring spaces of their own.
The Edna McMillan Scholarships will honour these ‘Parents who Inspire’ (who may also be considered passionate at their professions), by assisting them to attend the WCGTC Conference. By giving them a place at the table, allowing them to share/show case what they are doing/have done and with this encourage all our populations (ie academics, educators, researchers, interested parties, students and families,) to not only see the value of their work but also what is possible with determination and persistence, (even without a lot of money), to give inspiration, momentum, and new hope to others, and for others out there to feel valued and proud of their passionate colleagues.
Again, The World Council for Gifted and Talented Children is grateful and very honoured by Dr. Dorothy Sisk’s wonderful gesture to mark and share the memory of our colleague Edna, who surely would have approved of an initiative such as this. We would like to think that if others are inspired too, that perhaps they may think about contributing towards assisting other ‘Parents who inspire’ attending the next conference in Denmark, or to the WC Scholarship fund.
Leslie S. Graves, S&A Chair/President Elect & the S&A Committee Ken McCluskey & Umit Davasligi
“Come Fly your Kite for Giftedness with Us!