A former Livermore High School student and Spanish teacher who died earlier this year left a six-figure sum to the school's future valedictorians from her own trust.
The class of 1950 graduate Isabelle Mary Henriques bequeathed $100,000 to create a student scholarship in her honor, according to Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District (LVJUSD) officials.
"Mary Henriques truly valued public education and was an inspiration to many. Establishing a scholarship was a lifelong dream of hers, and we are so fortunate that she chose to support the students from her alma mater," said Superintendent Kelly Bowers.
Funds from the scholarship, formally named the Isabelle Henriques Valedictorian Award, are designated for the valedictorian(s) of Livermore High who are also lifelong members of the California Scholarship Federation. Officials said that each recipient will be awarded $5,000.
At its Aug. 17 regular meeting, the school board unanimously approved the establishment of an account in the LVJUSD Foundation Fund for this award.
"We couldn’t be more thrilled that the highest achieving Livermore High students of this generation and beyond will be the beneficiaries of Ms. Henriques’ generosity. Her legacy as an alumna and distinguished teacher will live on through her support of future generations," said Livermore High Principal Helen Gladden.
District officials said that Henriques, who died on June 17, "is fondly remembered by former colleagues and students as a passionate educator. She had high educational expectations for her students and helped them achieve their potential through her command of the subject matter, her compassion and her positive, inspiring attitude."
Former student Mary Coelho Wilson shared a similar view of how she remembers Henriques.
"Ms. Henriques was a wonderful teacher who had a profound influence on my life. Largely due to her influence, I decided to become a Spanish teacher. Now, my daughter teaches high school Spanish and one of my grandchildren is bilingual," Wilson said.