Like many other students, Geneda Parker worried about how she would manage her last semester of graduate school as a student teacher while supporting herself financially. When she found out she received the Virginia Arnold Scholarship she was relieved; this was exactly what she needed in order to be able to focus on her teaching and her aspirations on making a positive impact on her students. As a result of that focus, dedication and hard work, she was able to finish her student teaching internship early and was offered a full time teaching position.
Parker is currently teaching first grade at Broad Rock Elementary School in Richmond Public Schools. She attributes much of her success to those that have helped her along the way, from professors to Dr. Virginia Arnold, who so generously helped Parker finish her last year at VCU.
“I look forward to the day when I will be financially stable and able to give back and support a student through a scholarship,” said Parker. “There is no doubt about it – this scholarship had a great impact on my future success.”
"Students need our help today more than ever before, and future teachers are a great investment.”
Until then she plans on giving back by attending panels sponsored by VCU and sharing her experiences with other students.
Parker plans on continuing her studies to obtain a doctorate in education. She strives to one day become a principal or superintendent and to eventually start a school for at-risk youth.
“I consider myself lucky to have been chosen for this award and I am extremely thankful for how it has affected my career,” said Parker. “Thank you to Dr. Arnold for seeing the best in me. Thank you for being so kindhearted, giving, selfless, and for believing in my future. I will continue to make you proud, represent VCU and your scholarship in the highest esteem. You can count on that!”
Arnold, a former faculty member often considered an honorary alumna thanks to her dedication to the School of Education, began teaching at the school in the 1970s. It was later on, returning to Richmond after opening a successful publishing consultancy in New York City, that she decided to support education students through scholarship funding.
Having come from a big family with limited resources and knowing the struggle of working two jobs to get through school, Arnold believes that this type of support can make a great impact on the lives of students.
“The most important thing you will ever do is get an education, and I want students from all walks of life to have that opportunity,” Arnold said. “I hold my scholarship recipients to high standards because I believe we need the smartest people in the world to become teachers.”
Arnold encourages all alumni and friends of the School of Education to contribute and help support the school’s mission.
“If each of us gave $50 a year, imagine how many students could see their dreams come true. Students need our help today more than ever before, and future teachers are a great investment,” Arnold said. “If we don’t have teachers, we don’t have schools and we won’t have a future.”