Lifelong teachers establish new scholarship at Iowa State


Photo Courtesy of Gary and Jannes Weede

Gary and Jannes Weede, both educators, began a $1,000 scholarship for elementary education majors.

Brian Day

The College of Human Sciences at Iowa State awards more than $800,000 worth of scholarships for graduate and undergraduate students each year.

This year, elementary education students will have a new scholarship opportunity thanks to contributions from Gary and Jannes Weede.

The couple has recently endowed a scholarship for students who aspire to become teachers, since they have been lifelong educators.

Gary and Jannes both graduated from Iowa State and have taught all around the Ames area, including at the university.

They said they believe they got their mutual love for education and teaching from their parents, whom they describe as extremely hardworking and as people who did not have the same opportunities for education as they did.

“All four [of our parents] were very strong supporters of education. They realized that was the most important thing, and if we ever wanted to go beyond where they were, it was going to have to be college,” Jannes said.

In order to be eligible for the award, students must demonstrate exemplary leadership skills through high school and college extracurricular activities, part-time jobs, community volunteering and leadership activities.

They must also exhibit potential through exceptional enthusiasm in the classroom as determined by the administering authority.

“If there is one thing that we look for in a potential student, it’s their work ethic,” Gary said. “We look at the work you’ve had before you went to college, and if you’ve worked some of your way through college. Those are the things that are the biggest indicators of success.”

First preference for applicants is given to those who are first-generation college students, with second preference being given to students whose parents are public school teachers.

“The biggest thing is that we were first-generation college students in both families … we want to give someone a start that they might not have otherwise gotten,” the Weedes said as to why they wanted to create this scholarship.

This year’s deadline for all scholarships in the College of Human Sciences is Feb. 14.

Students looking to apply for the scholarship must have a minimum GPA of 2.75 on the 4.0 scale. They must also provide an original essay of no more than 500 words that describes their philosophies on education and teaching.

The recipient of this year’s scholarship will be awarded $1,000.

Gary and Jannes also fund another scholarship available to engineering students at Iowa State, and two more awards at Illinois State.

“Education has been the most important thing in our lives, and we are where we are because of that and a lot of hard work,” Jannes said. “We would like to encourage others to do the same thing.”