Alaska’s Teacher of the Year — Glacier Valley librarian and music teacher Lorrie Heagy — has given a student the means to impact the lives of students yet to come.
Anna Melovidov of St. Paul Island received the $60,000 scholarship to the University of Phoenix.
Heagy was a little nervous in calling Melovidov instead of telling her in person, however, the response via teleconference was overwhelming on both ends.
“I thought by phone it would be really difficult but when I heard her voice it was just as powerful as if she were right there,” Heagy said. “I just felt very honored to be able to do something like this. One day you get to help select someone who can receive this kind of a gift and know that it’s going to impact so many kids.”
Heagy made the announcement at an Future Educators of Alaska conference with about 90 students in attendance at University of Alaska Southeast Tuesday.
But the experience was different for Melovidov, who was waiting in the Pribilof Schools superintendent’s office at the end of the school day.
“We called her from the conference and she didn’t have an idea why she was called to the (superintendent’s) office,” Heagy said. “She was just overwhelmed and very excited. This online degree is perfect for her. She wants to stay committed to her community on St. Paul. This scholarship, and the fact it’s an online degree, will allow her to continue to do that from St. Paul.”
Melovidov is one of three seniors at St. Paul school. Pribilof Schools Superintendent Jamie Stacks said it is fabulous that Melovidov received the award.
“It’s going to be the perfect opportunity for this young lady to pursue her goal of becoming a teacher,” Stacks said. “She’s very goal oriented. She just needed the resources to pursue her goal. She will make a fine teacher someday.”
Stacks said the three seniors are high achievers and another student was selected as a University of Alaska Anchorage Scholar. Pribilof Schools has 87 students in the district, located along the Aleutian Chain.
Stacks said Melovidov is very excited about the award.
“She was shaking and she was teary eyed,” Stacks said. “She was so surprised. She said now my dreams could come true. She kept saying it’s going to take a while to process this. This will change her life, I really believe that. It will make a difference and change her life. Thanks to FEA for this opportunity for her.”
Melovidov wrote in her application that she wants to become a teacher because she wants to “open the eyes of children and share my love of learning.”
She has been tutoring children at her school already and found her passion in teaching.
“For me it was lovely to hear that Anna was already working in the school with tutoring and knew that this is what she wanted,” Heagy said. “She still was very committed to getting a degree and teaching in education.”
Heagy got the opportunity to give a full scholarship to a student in Alaska. Other state winners also received a scholarship to give out in their states.
Heagy said the scholarship was given to the selected teachers at the end of January.
“It took me a little bit of time to figure out how I wanted to work it,” she said.
Heagy could give the scholarship to a senior seeking an undergraduate degree, a colleague seeking a graduate degree, or an adult in the community who also wants to further his or her education.
Heagy facilitated the award with the FEA, which is how she chose in which category she wanted to award the scholarship.
“It seemed fitting to me, the Future Educators of Alaska, their whole mission is encouraging and supporting Alaska youth who want to do the same (educate Alaska’s youth),” Heagy said, adding that she also chose the group because it also represents Juneau youth.
She decided it would be most fitting to give the Teaching it Forward award to an up-and-coming teacher.
“It seems very appropriate to continue teaching forward,” Heagy said. “I’m really excited to share this with the University of Phoenix.”
• Contact reporter Sarah Day at 523-2279 or at email@example.com.