To repay a woman like Jeanette Hebblewhite would be a daunting task. She was an exceptional educator, a philanthropic leader and supreme supporter of educational goals and dreams.
Jeanette's story begins with her graduation from Oshkosh High School in 1933 and the completion of her education degree at the State Teachers College in Oshkosh. Jeanette's desire to educate future generations carried her through the next 46 years of her teaching career, where she taught at multiple elementary schools including Smith, Longfellow and Emmeline Cook.
"Jeanette had a bunch of teacher friends and was a staunch advocate for teachers everywhere," said Tom Hebblewhite, Jeanette's nephew and once a student of hers. "She moved to Oshkosh in 1910 with her parents and two brothers. She was the only one that went on to pursue a higher education."
Jeanette was also heavily involved in the community. She was a lifelong member of Trinity Episcopal Church and devoted a large amount of time to the Boys & Girls Club and the Mercy Hospital Auxiliary. In December 2003, Jeanette became involved with the Women's Fund of Oshkosh when she established the Jeanette Hebblewhite Scholarship Fund. This scholarship, a $1,000 award, goes to one student each year that graduates from Oshkosh North High School and plans to pursue a degree in teaching. As a proud supporter of education, Jeanette wanted to positively impact generations of students for years to come.
When I graduated from high school, I wanted to attend UW Madison but my parents were against it," said Tom. "Jeanette encouraged me to go, and the following school year I found myself on the UW Madison campus."
Madeline Knoblock, a student at UW-Oshkosh and one of Jeanette's scholarship recipients, also experienced Jeanette's support. "The Jeanette Hebblewhite Scholarship has allowed me to focus on my school work because I'm less stressed about how I'm paying for my education," said Knoblock. "I really appreciate her support in my pursuit of a degree."
Because of Jeanette's generosity, a legacy has been created that will change lives for years to come. When asked back in December of 2003 why she wanted to start a scholarship fund, Jeanette simply responded, "I want to help those in need." If you or someone you know has the same desire—to help those in need—remember the Women's Fund of Oshkosh. Whether it's a one-time gift or an enduring legacy you'd like to build, we can help.