Banding together as female leaders, the Zonta club is dedicated to helping woman advance in their careers and celebrate their achievements.
For some women, receiving a higher education right out of high school is easy, but for women interested in higher education later in life, Zonta can help them achieve their goals through their Second Chance Scholarship program.
For these three women the Second Chance Scholarship not only helped with their tuition, but also gave them the motivation to excel in their education and their careers.
Danielle Antoinette Brasfield was awarded the Second Chance Scholarship in 2000.
After graduating from Lincoln University, Danielle has become an educator and a writer of children books in Chicago, Illinois.
“I remember working at a day care at that time,” Danielle recalled. “My mentor and day care director, Dr. Miriam Fuller, encouraged me to apply. The funny thing is that I had never applied for a scholarship in my life, even though I had been at Lincoln University for about five years at that time.”
Danielle had faced many challenges trying to finish school from changing her major to paying out of state tuition to even a suspension, she said. She really did need a “second chance.”
“This scholarship was specific to a person who would never qualify for a scholarship because she was over the age of 21 or because she was out of school and in limbo simply because of her financial distress,” she said. “It was a scholarship for the least likely. That was me. Trying but needed some help.”
When Danielle applied, she was hopeful but not convinced that she could get it. To her, scholarships at that time were for students that were smart, 3.0 GPA, and most likely to not get suspended, etc., she said. When Danielle received the letter that she had been chosen to be a recipient of the scholarship, she was so shocked.
“At the same time, I felt proud. I was able to not only get back on track in school but it encouraged me to believe I could apply for other scholarships, and guess what? I did and I received every one after that. I believe there were three more,” she said. “Getting this Second Chance Scholarship not only gave me a second chance to finish what I was messing up, but a second wind to start over and finish strong. Because of this scholarship, I got to my destiny of becoming an educator and also my faith increased that good things do happen to those who believe!”
Quite naturally, Danielle’s first degree was from Lincoln University with a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education. She then attended graduate school to complete two master’s degrees, one in curriculum and instruction, and the other in principal administration. She obtained both degrees from Concordia University in River Forest, Illinois. Recently, in 2017,
Danielle embarked on taking a course in authorship allowing her to obtain a certificate from Eagles International Training Institute out of Dallas, Texas, as a published author.
For 18 years she has been in the educational sector, having taught second through eighth grade. Danielle is currently a fourth-grade teacher, a professional development facilitator for my social-emotional learning workbook for students, a writer who self-publishers and sells children’s books, and a local children’s author/speaker in Chicago and surrounding areas.
“Thank you to the wonderful ladies of Zonta for creating a scholarship that not only gives second chances but reignites passion and sustains dreams for years to come for those who are honored to receive it. It did for me and I am still living the dream because you believed in a second chance,” Danielle said. “I would say to any woman, The Second Chance Scholarship is your open door. Walk in it. You’re worth another try. Pick yourself up and try again.”
For Tina Eisterhold, it wasn’t until she had worked for several years in her first career that she decided she wanted to pursue another path. However, through receiving the Second Chance Scholarship in 2008, she has now become successful in the career of her dreams.
“I had left the Missouri Senate after about 20 years and took a private industry job,” Eisterhold explained. “They shut down and that sent me into a loop of ‘What am I going to do now?’ You know I’ve got three little kids at home, a family, a husband and I have to have a job.
“So I went back to school but I went out here to State Tech and went into commuters actually and (that’s) when I got my computer degree.”
From that point Tina received an associate’s degree in computer programming and web design, and then she received a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Having three small children at home and doing the whole process of getting back into school and looking for another career “got the ball rolling” for her, she said.
After Tina had received her associate’s degree, she became a part-time computer teacher/education aide while she was still undergoing courses for her education degree.
“To come in as a teacher was probably of one of my life dreams. I had started out in high school wanting to be a teacher. Then my mom got sick when I was in college at Lincoln University,” she said. “I quit school basically to help out at home and help them until she got back on her feet, so coming back into it was my lifelong dream of being a teacher.”
What the Second Chance Scholarship did for Tina was give her the means of going back, giving her a thought process that there were more things out there that women could do, she said.
“I think it was just that you had that base of women behind you kind of pushing you along, and they kept in touch and would send out invitations to their dinner and stuff like that,” she said. “It just kind of gave you that knowledge that you could go back, that there was life after you quit another job or after you were married and had kids and they were still in school. You know there was still that outreach that you could push yourself to move on and do other things and still be all of those things because let’s face it, women are fantastic multi-taskers – we really are.”
Tina hopes that Zonta Jefferson City keeps providing the Second Chance Scholarship and giving women a chance to expand themselves and be something even more for their own children to look up to.
“I think that’s something (that) all three of my children have gone on to college. They watched my husband and I go back to school as they were younger and I have my last son in college right now. My daughter just graduated from nursing school, so I think that principle of education and continuing to learn and grow was something that we instilled in our kids.”
By the time Tina graduated with her teaching degree in 2013, she was hired full time as a third-grade teacher at Linn Elementary School where she spent two years before teaching fifth grade.
“I’m 52 now so I will basically work until retirement,” Tina said. Although Tina didn’t have any future plans in mind, she has recently participated in professional development opportunities in early February to help write the ELA (English/Language Arts) portion of the MAP test for the 2020 school year, where teachers throughout the state have a role in creating the test.
“Teaching is my lifelong dream,” she said. “I love children and I love what I do.”
Anita Cole received the Second Chance Scholarship in 2017, which she described as giving her the final push she needed to get through.
“It filled a hole that helped me get over that last little hurdle in my last couple of semesters,” Anita explained. “By that time there was a lot of things going on outside of school that were kind of making my world a little rocky and shaky, but it really did help and the ladies of Zonta are very supportive – VERY supportive. If you’re having issues or problems you can call one of them and just even talk to them you know they don’t even have to do anything, but they will listen and that made a difference also.”
Anita said the Zonta program is a wonderful organization, and she believes they named it properly, Second Chance Scholarship.
“They really do help people who are in their second chances, you know in the mode of second chances because all of the women who receive these scholarships are older. You know we’ve lived a little life and kids, marriages, divorces … so you know it really is a second chance,” she said. “The women are very inspiring because you see all these successful women that no matter what life brought to them, they managed to be successful in life; it’s very encouraging. When your life takes a turn, you pivot with it and you do what you have to do to make things flow.”
Anita appreciates that Zonta helps build mentorships and relationships with the women, noting Ruthi Sturdevant and Rachel Sale helped her a lot.
“Those women have been angels in my life,” she added.
By summer of 2018 Anita received degrees in both history and education from Lincoln University.
“Right now I’m working here at Lincoln on the main floor of the Honors Program. The honors students live in this building and it’s really just for them, and I would say they get a lot of perks for being on the honor role and being in the program,” she said.
Anita is an administrative assistant right now but is still in education helping students and doing many things a teacher does.
“I do want to use that teaching degree in some aspect. You work all these years to get the degree so you want to be able to use it in some aspect. One of my mentors, Dr. (Marrix) Seymore in the education department he said: ‘You don’t necessarily have to be in a program. A lot of jobs or companies – as long as they know that you can teach – you can do a lot of things outside of the classroom, but still do teach and still utilize that degree.’ That’s an option I’ve also been thinking about,” she said.
Anita mentioned she currently plans to continue her work at Lincoln, but may consider moving and teaching within another state in the future.
“Right now I have one more child in high school so after that we thought about maybe moving and maybe teaching in another state,” she said. “I’m not quite sure yet; I’m a little undecided but once he graduates I’ll have a better idea because I’ll know where he’ll be at and I won’t have to worry about him so much. My other two kids, they’re in their 20s, so they’ll be OK.”
This will be the 20th year Zonta will award a group of women with a Second Chance Scholarship at their Yellow Rose Luncheon on May 14.
Recipients will receive up to $2,500 per semester, which may be renewable for the next consecutive semester, and the award is applied to expenses pertaining to a four-year college degree, associate’s degree on an accredited vocation/training program.
Scholarships are awarded to women 24 and older, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and can demonstrate personal discipline and perseverance.
More information and the application for the Second Chance Scholarships can be found on the Zonta website at zontajcmo.org/scholarships.