Rini Kraus recalls her Valley University Women’s College Scholarship being $50 in 1959 when she graduated from John Burroughs High School in Burbank.

“Fifty dollars doesn’t sound like a lot, but at the time I was paying $64 in tuition at UCLA,” she says. “That $50 meant a lot to me and all the other recipients.”

It was a reward for all those nights they stayed up late to study for a few extra hours because a B in the class just wasn’t going to cut it. They needed A.

It was recognition for all the hours after school and weekends they did community service, and all the heartfelt words they wrote on paper in essays about their family’s struggles and successes. , and their own dreams.

They had to be better than good. They had to be great and honest because most of the women at VUW who decided who would get this scholarship were retired teachers. They had seen it all. The kids who talked about a good game and the kids who actually won the game.

Rini was cleaning up old files recently when she found the 1959 letter the female university students had sent her congratulating her on being chosen as one of their scholarship recipients.

She went online and found their website to call them – an update on what that $50 in 1959 started. Rini went on to earn a business degree from the University of California at Berkeley and worked at CBS Studios for many years.

When Rini called, Doris Dent picked up the phone. As chair of the scholarship committee, she was just beginning to work on the last batch of 2022 applications to decide on this year’s winners.

The last recipients. There won’t be any more.

“Our members have aged, died and shrunk to the point that this year, our 66th year, will be our last year for scholarship awards,” Doris said. “Last year we funded $3,000 scholarships for 15 high school students, and in the 15 years I served as the scholarship committee chair alone, we gave out 180 scholarships.”

This does not include the 50 years preceding his arrival. There are well over 1,500 seniors from families with limited income who have been opened the door to university thanks to their hard work and the financial support of the VUW.

These women are not rich. They don’t just draw a check from their savings account to fund these scholarships. Not on the retired teacher’s pension. There is no corporate sponsorship.

They do it the old fashioned way – bake sales, auctions, raffles, bequests and hats off to donors asking them to help some really special kids.

They’ve been doing it for 66 years, and now it’s time to say goodbye to their scholarship program. Time has finally caught up with the members, almost all of whom are over 90 years old. It hurts not being able to offer the scholarships anymore, says Dent, but they have no choice.

“Marilyn Fabre, the joyful optimist who kept us going, has died. It was a blow, just like the loss of Rose Horkin a few years earlier. Faye Frankel, our longtime treasurer who just left the books last year at 97, died this week.

The list continues. The VUW, like so many of our military services and women’s clubs that have been the foundation of support for their communities for half a century and more, is slowly fading away. It is a great loss for all of us.

“I would like to see our remaining members honored for all their efforts to help seniors at our public high schools in the valley continue their education,” Doris said.

You have it, professor. To all Valley University Women, thank you for supporting Rini Kraus 63 years ago when she needed $50 for her tuition at UCLA, and all the other high school students who stayed up late at night to studying because a B just wasn’t going to cut it.

They needed A.

Valley University Women Information: www.valleyuniversitywomen.org

Dennis McCarthy’s column airs Sunday. He can be reached at [email protected]

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