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Green Bay mom’s scholarship allows her to graduate

“I remember my heart dropping. I just couldn’t believe it!”

That was Frances Nazario’s reaction when she learned she was receiving a much-needed scholarship. Funding options for the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay student’s tuition were running out, but the award is making her future graduation a reality.

As a nontraditional student, “I never really fit the mold for most scholarships,” she says. “Anytime I’ve searched for scholarships it’s been for single moms who work 40 hours a week going to school full time, or first-time high school applicants, so I’ve just continued to take loan after loan to pay my tuition.”

Frances moved to Green Bay from Milwaukee when she was a teenager. After graduating from Green Bay Christian High School, she started her college journey. “But, life happened,” explains Frances, who juggled part-time work and classes. She married Oscar in 2011, and is mom to two boys, 3-year-old Micah and Levi, soon to be 2.

“I realized I needed to finish, so I enrolled at UW-Green Bay when my oldest was just a few months old, and I’m full-time now, majoring in education with an emphasis on bilingual education and ESL,” says Frances, who is on track to graduate in spring  2021. She hopes to teach English as a second language in northeast Wisconsin.

Frances’ U.W.-Green Bay scholarship is from the Rita E. Nelson Endowed Scholarship for Education, created with a grant to the university from the David L. and Rita E. Nelson Family Fund within the Community Foundation. The gift honors the late Rita Nelson, who was a retired teacher. (Read more about the Nelsons here)

“Nontraditional students come from all walks of life, and bring an expansive, critical repertoire of life experiences that enrich the classes and students they will one day teach,” says Pao Lor chairperson, Professional Program in Education, UW-Green Bay.  “We are most grateful that many nontraditional students like Frances choose to pursue a career in teaching, and we are also most grateful there are individuals like David and Rita Nelson who shared the same vision and the generosity to provide the financial support to pursue it.”

Frances says news of her scholarship came at exactly the right time:

“After this semester, I will no longer receive any kind of federal aid. So I’m pulling from wherever I can. And this came at a perfect time, because I just didn’t know if next semester was going to happen. And I was very scared because I have three semesters left.”

To UW-Green Bay and to the Nelson family, Frances says: “I don’t know if there are enough words for me to even express my gratitude. You’ve inspired me, and you’ve taken a big weight off my shoulders. A very humble thank you.”

Interested in exploring a family fund? We have a variety of flexible fund options. Check them out here.

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