Posts Tagged ‘teacher’


In the past two years, Army dependent Devon Cooley has received $6,000 in ThanksUSA Scholarships, sponsored by Goldman Sachs Gives and LM&O Advertising. On Friday, May 4th, Devon graduated from the Michigan State University College of Communication Arts and Sciences with High Honors and was recognized for having the highest GPA in her degree program.

Devon is looking forward to beginning her training with Teach For America in Atlanta, GA. This Fall, she will begin her journey as a Secondary English teacher in the Greater New Orleans, LA. Devon’s future plans include graduate school and traveling. Devon was featured in a Scholarship News blog earlier this Spring and you can read more about her plans and great advice to new undergrads here. The ThanksUSA team congratulates Devon on her academic accomplishments and we wish her all the best with her teaching career!

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Sometimes, life just seems to get in the way…especially when you’re “married to the military” and raising three children. This week’s featured scholar, Christine Carenza, began her collegiate journey 20 years ago. Now, with the help of a $3,000 Intelligent Decisions Inc/ThanksUSA Scholarship, Christine is looking forward to completing her B.S. in Elementary Education by year’s end.

Christine with husband, CMSgt Joe Carenza


Christine’s husband, Chief Master Sergeant Joe Carenza, USAF, has been serving our country for the past twenty-eight years. During that time, the family has moved ten times and Christine has attended six colleges. With each of these institutions requiring different undergraduate course work, Christine found herself losing valuable credits every time she moved. Then, at the recommendation of a coworker, Christine looked into an online degree program at Grand Canyon University.

Christine was relieved to find a school that would move with her no matter where the family was stationed. “It’s so much more convenient, especially for military spouses, because you can complete your degree from start to finish even if you get transferred overseas,” she added.


This Fall, Christine will complete her student teaching requirements in her local school district and be qualified to teach grades k-8. Preferably, she would like to work with a fourth or fifth grade level explaining, “They are really eager learners at that point and I feel that I can really reach them and help them learn.”

Christine hasn’t always been interested in pursuing a teaching degree. Her post-secondary education began when an employer offered her tuition reimbursement. She was working as a secretary at the time and was able to earn her AA in Business Administration. She had also taken pre-requisites for a nursing degree, but a move overseas prevented her from continuing her nursing studies. Always eager to be involved with her children, Christine began working at her children’s school which inspired her to earn her B.S. in Elementary Education. She explains, “I always idolized teachers and when I started volunteering with students, I realized, ‘I can do this!’ and I began setting my goals.”

As a future teacher, Christine has already gained experience as a teacher’s aide for preschool and kindergarten students and has observed at a local parochial school. As the mother of three sons aged 11, 14, and 19, Christine has been volunteering in multiple classrooms since the mid 90’s. In addition to her studies, she remains actively involved with her Church, military spouse groups, and  volunteers with Boy Scouts.

The Carenza’s oldest son, Matthew, began college in 2011 and Christine was initially concerned about the financial burden of paying tuition for two family members. “It’s so nice not to have to worry so much. Receiving the Intelligent Decisions Inc/ThanksUSA Scholarship made it possible for me to continue my education.”

Joe, Christopher, Christine, Tony, & Matthew Carenza

Although the financial assistance was certainly a contributing factor to Christine’s continuing education, the real driving force behind her success has always been her family. “Without their support I would never have been able to get this far in my education,” she says.

The entire ThanksUSA team is grateful to our donors and sponsors for helping ThanksUSA support deserving students like Christine. We remind all potential applicants that 2012-2013 ThanksUSA Scholarship applications will be accepted online from April 1 through May 15 and you are encouraged to register for an email reminder here.

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