Honoring her legacy

Honoring the legacy of important teacher Mrs. Anderson with scholarship

Olivia Torrez, Staff Writer

The sound of pens filled the classroom as Dierks Bentley’s country music floated through during independent work. Nancy Anderson, a teacher at MN for 25 years, sat at the desk, listening along to her favorite artist. Bentley now plays in loved ones’ hearts as a reminder of the teacher lost during the spring quarantine.

Anderson was a mentor for many and a Millard champion- graduating from Millard South in 1988 after attending Norris Elementary and Central Middle School. She will have a scholarship in her name after passing away in April from a home accident.

“I definitely believe she [influenced my life] in numerous ways. She pushed me to realize that I was smarter than I would give myself credit for, and I needed to stop double guessing all my work. And honestly, she just showed me that just asking how someone’s day is can go a long way,” former student and current sophomore Rachel Wahlgren said.

According to colleagues and friends, Anderson gave every day her all, and was willing to dedicate 100% of her passion towards helping her students and letting them thrive in the classroom.

“Nancy was fierce, loyal, loving, tenacious, independent, strong, and spunky.  As a teacher, Nancy cared deeply about education, students, and doing the right thing.  When Nancy got stuck on something–and it usually involved doing “the right thing” for students, she would not let it go until the situation changed,” Carol Vande Kerkhoff, close friend of Anderson and former MN English teacher, said.

According to friends, Anderson was one of a kind. Students, teachers, and friends alike remember the little things about her, even today.

“When we first started zooms back in March or April, a couple weeks before she went to the hospital, she made us stop our lesson on zoom halfway, because she was so excited to show us her mug that she had painted and that it had a little smiley face in the bottom of it,” Wahlgren said.

She cared deeply about other people and friends often reported hearing her distinctive laughter through the walls of her classroom. 

“This was a way for Mrs. Anderson’s friends, family, and  colleagues to honor her legacy as a Millard North teacher of 25 years. She loved to have fun at her job.” Jessica Hacker, social studies teacher and close friend of Anderson , said. “[Anderson] gave the best advice and was given the nickname “Bulldog” by her colleagues because she was tenacious in standing up for students and educators.”

 The Nancy S. Anderson Memorial Scholarship  benefits career and college ready MNHS graduates. Applications will close in February. To qualify, the recipient must have begun attendance at a selected institution or have been working towards trade-based employment by October in their graduating year. It will give $1,000 toward post-secondary education or trade education.

“The goal is in sight! We have $13,610 in place as of today. $1 for $1 every donation will be matched up to $5k. A $20 gift becomes a $40 gift. With the match in place, we need to raise an additional $2390.” Rider said. “Participation in the project is powerful. It’s not a few giving a lot, its many giving what they can. That impact is a beautiful thing,” Sarah Rider, the Millard Foundation Director of Development said.

The scholarship has received an anonymous donor, willing to match any donation given to see it through. In order to do that, the memorial scholarship will have to reach its potential to be invested in enough to reach a ‘spin off amount’. The number is $20k.

This year has been full of receding waves of false hope leading into tsunamis. Anderson was an important person to many and made an impact on hundreds of students who walked through her door. The Nancy S. Anderson Memorial Scholarship is the memorial for an advocate of education and doing what’s best for others- especially for her students and co-workers. 

Bentley’s country music will play on, and Anderson won’t be forgotten in the aftermath of this storm.

(this is the link for contribution: “To contribute to Nancy’s scholarship, visit https://www.mpsfoundation.org/donate/  In the memo line, please designate: Nancy Anderson scholarship.”)