Award memorializes Violet M. Yates, who taught English as a second language for 20 years to local women.
By: Cathy Hughes [The Daily Evergreen]
On the first day of spring semester, WSU’s Intensive American Language Center awarded the Violet M. Yates Scholarship to Olga Haycock, an immigrant from Odessa, Ukraine.
The full-tuition scholarship, worth $2,085, covers the cost of attending the intensive English program, for which students from around the world come to WSU.
Haycock hopes to use this scholarship and program to pursue her goal of becoming a licensed practical nurse. She works at Aspen Park Healthcare in Moscow.
“I love my work,” the mother of two said. “I have a dream to work in medical care.” Improving her English is not just important for Haycock’s future career, she said.
“[My children, aged 5 and 3] speak good English,” she said. “I need to speak English or I won’t understand my kids.” Helping local immigrant women improve their English as a life skill is the aim of the scholarship, IALC Director Pamela Duran said.
She said that without this opportunity immigrant women “end up struggling just getting around, getting their shopping done, making friends … and sometimes they end up staying home, not participating much.” Haycock was awarded the scholarship based on three areas of qualification: financial need, residence in the area for at least a year, and goals and aspirations that would be helped through this English program.
“If we can help her take that next step, that’s what we want to do so that she can go to college or university and take the classes that she needs to,” Duran said.
These ambitions were the intention of Violet M. Yates’ 10 children, who instituted this scholarship as a birthday gift to their mother. Although Yates died in 2003, a member of her family attends the ceremony each year when an award is presented. This year, Yates’ daughter Ruth Enos and her husband, Earl, were there when IALC presented the scholarship.
Helping women learn English was a meaningful way for Enos and her siblings to honor their mother, who devoted 20 years to teaching English as a second language to local women, Enos said. Yates believed in not just teaching these women English, but also in living that same ideal of welcoming those from other cultures.
“My mother was a very hospitable woman,” Enos said of her mother. “I can’t remember a major meal at our house without having people of other ethnicities.” Yates was a civil engineer in the WSU Physical Plant from March 1948 to June 1970. She died on July 20, 2003, according to a 2003 issue of WSU Today.
Now that her mother is gone, Enos and her siblings can continue to live by their mother’s ideals by supporting this scholarship.
“Many, many times it is men who are given the support, but their wives come and have not had the chance,” Enos said. “It means a lot to us to see the growth of young women, whether they want to be teachers or doctors or whatever.”