Helen Broyles-Smith Invests in Cal State L.A. Students
Los Angeles, CA - At a recent scholarship luncheon, 1996 Cal State L.A. graduate Olivia Gabriel spotted someone in the crowd and rushed right over with a big hug. The recipient of that affection was Helen Broyles-Smith, 90, a long-time donor who established a Cal State L.A. scholarship fund to help struggling students. Gabriel, the first Smith Scholarship recipient, now a teacher at the acclaimed Foshay High School, once described Mrs. Smith as "an angel that God sent me."
Mrs. Smith, who taught fifth grade for 30 years, established the Theophilus G. Smith Memorial Scholarship in 1993 to honor her late husband of 55 years. Why support education? For Mrs. Smith, it's a very practical matter. "Employers," she says, "look for an education first and foremost." She grew up in a family in which education meant everything. Both she and her late husband earned master's degrees, hers in Education '59, from Cal State L.A. (then Los Angeles State College). "Besides," she adds, "I've been blessed in so many ways. It's a way to give something back."
Thinking of the students who were helped through her gifts, she comments, "I have been pleased with the results." Smith scholarships are designated to help those who have significant financial need. Along with providing these needed scholarships, Mrs. Smith is personally involved, providing food and clothing when she sees a special need. When she discovered a student in need of a computer, she purchased one that has been passed on to successive Smith Scholarship awardees who needed it.
As a teacher, she recollects that her students thought she was very strict. But these days, they often come back to visit, saying they appreciate what she did for them. An active retiree, Mrs. Smith enjoys golf, reading, bridge, going to lunch with friends and taking care of her dog, Iptso.
Her generous scholarship supports four students every year. The award recipients for Fall 2000 are:
* Tiffanie Walker, 17, a criminal justice major whose career goal is to be a probation officer. She is a graduate of John Muir High School in Pasadena.
* Monique Taplin, 22, a child development major who aims to become a preschool teacher. She is a graduate of Inglewood High School.
* Laura Lopez, 23, a child development major who is set to become an elementary school teacher, from San Gabriel Mission High School.
* Isis Mosqueda, 20, a business administration major and graduate of Phineas Banning High School, Wilmington, who plans to become a certified public accountant.
According to Gabriel, the first Smith Scholar, these young awardees definitely have a special someone in their corner: "Mrs. Smith has had such a great impact on my life. She has helped me, both academically and personally and is a great pleasure to know."