638 dependents awarded $1.76 million
In the mid 1990s, leaders of the Greater Santa Cruz Federation of Teachers decided the CFT, a union of educators, should offer the children of its members scholarships to achieve their higher education goals.
Santa Cruz President Don Maxwell and Treasurer Tom Boushka also thought the scholarship should be in honor of the man they knew and loved — Raoul Teilhet — former president of the CFT.
Maxwell was a CFT vice president at that time, and in 1997, he brought a proposal to CFT Convention to create the Raoul Teilhet Scholarship Program. While many delegates rose to support the creation of the scholarship fund, considerable reservations were raised about the means of paying for it. The amendment passed, but it would take another Convention to fine-tune the particulars of the funding mechanism.
In 1998, several delegates rose to speak of the enormous need for a union-sponsored scholarship that would be available to their college-age children. Delegates passed the assessment in the end and the program went into effect later that year.
Students would be eligible for $3000 scholarships for a four-year course of study and $1000 for a two-year course of study.
Because Maxwell was an art teacher, and a fervent arts supporter, he was adamant that scholarships be available to students attending art schools as well as traditional two- and four-year colleges. He served as the first chair of the Scholarship Committee, continuing in the volunteer position for many years. In the program’s inaugural year, 12 high school seniors were awarded scholarships.
Six years into the program, delegates to the CFT Convention passed another resolution that would expand the program to offer scholarships to continuing college students. With that significant change, the course of the program was set. Now Carole Burke, former president of the Coast Federation of Educators, chairs the Scholarship Committee.
Twenty years into the program, the Raoul Teilhet Scholarship Program for high school seniors and continuing college students has awarded scholarships to 638 children or dependents of members. This benefit of union membership has awarded $1.76 million to help students achieve their higher education goals.