Be the Change You Wish to See

Remembering MN teacher Michelle Edmundson’s long-lasting legacy through a meaningful scholarship


MN teacher Michelle Edmundson was a woman of many talents. An avid climber and hiker who was heavily involved in Project Pink’d, an organization that helps patients fighting breast cancer, she was driven by one mission above all else– to change the world. 

And she did, through her bravery, determination, and kindness that touched so many people, from students to fellow teachers to parents, until her passing last November.

In her honor, one of her best friends and fellow social studies teacher Jessica Hacker set out to establish the Michelle Edmundson Scholarship. 

“It is primarily designed to remember the legacy that Mrs. Edmundson left at Millard North. The scholarship will be directed to seniors who have a parent who has been affected by cancer,” Hacker said.

The scholarship will provide a stipend of $2,500 to the recipient. This money will be used to help students attend college, who otherwise might not have been able to afford it.

“It’s very possible that monetarily, [the scholarship] could make it possible for the student to attend college. Cancer can devastate a family financially and emotionally,” athletics and activities administrative assistant Kathy Folk, who was involved with fundraising for the scholarship, said. “[The money from this scholarship] could mean the difference between going and not going.”

This scholarship exemplifies Edmundson’s giving spirit, which has been described by students, colleagues, and friends alike.

“She had the biggest heart of anyone I knew. To go through what she did for so many years and to be at work every day, giving 100% to her students, I don’t think there could be a better example of not giving up,” Hacker said.

Though Hacker was the driving force behind the scholarship, MN’s community ultimately came together to make the scholarship possible.

“There’s been overwhelming support for it. The Millard North community is amazing. We truly are like one big family,” Hacker said.

To raise funds for the scholarship, social media has been a major driving force.

“There is a link in the Millard North website for people to donate through. A lot of people reached out  to ask how they could help,” Hacker said.

Additionally, in February, Folk planned a ‘Souper Bowl,’ a fundraiser that raised over $2,600. Themed around the Super Bowl, staff members could purchase soup and desserts to raise money for the scholarship.

“We designed a flier and sent out a Google Form, and that was all it took. I just sent a reminder out a few days before, and it just happened. That’s how caring this community is. It was an idea that just came together,” Folk said.

But similar to Hacker, Folk feels that she didn’t have to do much planning because of the overwhelming support and care that the MN community put into supporting this scholarship.

“I lost track of how much food the staff members contributed to [the Souper Bowl]. I don’t know that there was a teacher in this building that didn’t come down [to contribute] by buying lunch. The staff lounge was busy for all of fifth period,” Folk said.

One of the faculty members who was involved in the fundraiser and contributed to the scholarship was IB DP coordinator Rhonda Betzold. Betzold made a soup for the Souper Bowl and also donated money through social media.

“[I donated because] I loved Michelle and feel her loss deeply. She was the kind of teacher who impacted lives for the good of our world. I believe the scholarship will keep her memory alive and inspire others to make the world a better place,” Betzold said.

Hacker hopes that implementing this scholarship will help establish a legacy to remember Edmundson and all of the courage and compassion she embodied.

“I know that 20 years down the road, students might not know Mrs. Edmundson. But we want students to know that we see you and we understand that dealing [with cancer] takes a piece of you. And if this scholarship can help in any small way, that is our goal,” Hacker said.

While Edmundson may no longer be here, her legacy will live on forever. The scholarship will immortalize the life she lived– full of grit, determination, and most of all, love– as well as the statement she defined her life by: be the change you wish to see in the world.