A Teacher's Heart

Magazine Issue
Spring 2018
Read Time: 5 minutes

Two women standing next to each other. Being an art student is more difficult than it sounds. The major requires students to purchase supplies that many other majors

simply don't have to deal with. But when you pair art with education­ with its unpaid student teaching and additional classroom supplies-the expenses only grow more daunting, especially without the prospect of a substantial financial reward when you graduate.

"As a teacher, obviously you are not going into that profession to make a lot of money," says Brianna Hedquist, an art education student at the McKay School. "So it is important to do something you are passionate about."

Brianna has always worked to pay her own way at BYU because her family isn't in a position to help her financially. Though she loves art, she had been a dance teacher when she was in high school in Boise, Idaho, and she also loves teaching. When she was accepted into the art education major, she was overjoyed but also a little uncertain how she would pay for the additional expenses.

"I was starting to get into art classes and needed to purchase art materials," she says. "And being a full-time student and working a lot of hours can be super stressful. Almost all art classes take three hours, and the homework takes a lot of time."

Fortunately for Brianna, she received a helping hand from a McKay School alumna. Debbie Lamb, to her core, is an educator with what she calls "a teacher's  heart." She understands the plight of young teachers because she once was one herself. "Nobody who is a good teacher does it for the money," Debbie says. "It is not just a profession; it is a calling."

After graduating from BYU, Debbie worked as a teacher in Orem while her husband finished his degree. He graduated, they started a family, and his career took them on an odyssey through seven states over the ensuing years. Though Debbie did most of her teaching in the home with their own children, she also got her "teaching fix" through early-morning semi­nary, and she maintained a current teaching certificate wherever she moved.

While they were living in Anchorage, Alaska, Debbie's husband started a BYU alumni chapter, and they started donating to their alma mater. Then, a few years ago, they were approached by their contact at LDS Philanthropies about creating a Signature Scholarship-a named scholarship that helps a specific student whom they would have the opportunity to meet at a luncheon once a year. The Lambs soon after created a scholarship in Debbie's mother's name.

"I was fortunate that my parents helped put me through my undergraduate degree," Debbie says. "I can't imagine having to work and student teach. And if you incur some kind of student loan, you might not be able to afford to pay it back on a teacher's salary. So we found another reason to give."

Last year, for the first time since she and her husband started sponsoring their Signature Scholarship, Debbie came to Provo for the lun­cheon and met her student recipient. "It made it even more special," she says, "to have a per­sonal encounter and put a face with the name."

For Brianna it was a chance to express her gratitude in person and to learn from another educator. "Getting that scholarship was super helpful, and I am so grateful for how it has helped me," Brianna says. "Debbie impressed me with how kind she was and how much knowledge she has."

Brianna isn't finished with her course work yet, and then there is always the matter of stu­dent teaching. But thanks to a little help from a fellow teacher, her path to the classroom will be a little easier to travel.