ST. CLAIRSVILLE — A new scholarship will honor a beloved teacher who died late last year.
The Emery C. Stewart III Scholarship will be awarded annually to a St. Clairsville High School graduate with an interest in foreign language or international affairs. The announcement came over the weekend at the annual St. Clairsville High School Alumni Association picnic.
Pat Green-Wallace, president of the alumni association, said the idea for the newly established scholarship was sparked by the evening’s award recipient, Kevin Henry, who is a 1974 graduate and a former student of Stewart.
“When I contacted Kevin (Henry) asking him if he would be willing to accept the Distinguished Alumni Award this year, he said, ‘absolutely,’ that he would be humbled to accept but that he also wanted to recognize Emery Stewart and start a scholarship in his memory,” she said, adding that she was happy with the idea to not only honor Stewart but to also assist more graduating seniors.
Stewart — a lifelong Barnesville resident and 1966 graduate of Barnesville High School — taught French at St. Clairsville High School, beginning his career in 1971 and often taking students on international field trips throughout his tenure. He died in December shortly after being diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer.
Henry said his original plan was for Stewart to introduce him for the award; sadly that didn’t work out. Henry began working alongside Chris Stewart, Emery’s brother, to establish the scholarship in Stewart’s memory.
“We’ve been working for the last four or five months to come up with an appropriate way to honor Stewart’s memory. He was an outstanding teacher and was so passionate about the French language and international travel, so we came up with the idea of raising money to support an annual scholarship to a graduate of St. Clairsville High,” he said.
Henry said he went on Stewart’s first international field trip to Paris in 1973, while he was a junior in high school, and again the following year.
“Those experiences were formative experiences for me and were the beginning of my own international career, really, in travel. mr. Stewart was a fantastic teacher and a big influence for me,” he said.
After graduating high school, Henry attended Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. Upon graduating, he took a year off to travel in French-speaking West Africa before continuing his studies at the Princeton University School of Public and International Affairs. Henry then took a job with CARE, an international humanitarian organization, which he stayed with for 30 years, traveling in Africa and Asia with long-term assignments in Chad, Philippines and Sri Lanka.
Green-Wallace said her son was also a student of Stewart.
“I know that anyone who ever had him as a teacher just loved him. My son had him when he was a senior and went on one of his trips. He had nothing but praise for Emery Stewart. Over the years, my son graduated in ’93, but sporadically kept in touch with him on Facebook. He’s just touched a lot of lives and was a well-loved teacher,” she said.
The addition of the Emery C. Stewart III scholarship marks the 12th scholarship, each valued at $1,000, that the association awards every year.
“We will award that scholarship to a graduating senior that wants to go into international studies or into a foriegn language in college,” she said, adding that the initial scholarship will be awarded in the spring. “We work closely with the guidance department at the high school. .. We have a committee that sits down and goes through the applications, and then we choose the ones that we think are deserving of the $1,000.”
Henry hopes in the future, with the help of donations, to increase the scholarship amount.
Anyone wishing to contribute to the scholarship fund can mail checks to the St. Clairsville Alumni Association at PO Box 753, St. Clairsville, OH 43950.
“Any money that’s given and designated to the Emery Stewart Scholarship Fund will go into that account,” she said.