Written by The Herald-News
Bea Johnson Burr decided that she would like to give back to the Fort Peck Indian Reservation and the Wolf Point community in which she grew up.
She graduated from Wolf Point High School in 1963. As class salutatorian, Johnson earned a degree from the University of Montana in Missoula.
Recognizing the needs of young students who are struggling to make a better life for themselves and their families, Johnson contacted Chuck Trinder, one of the founding fathers of Fort Peck Community College and asked how she could contribute to help students get their degrees and improve their qualities of life.
Trinder made arrangements with Fort Peck Community College for Johnson to contribute to the Annie Knorr Proctor Memorial Scholarship Fund. Through Johnson’s generosity, three students from the college will be able to complete their degree work on a full ride scholarship.
Additional funding was given for the student gas voucher program to enable out-of-town students to attend classes.
In an interview, Johnson said that the Fort Peck Community College people made her feel so welcome; it felt as though she had always known them. She said they are awesome people and it was also great seeing some old friends from 50 years ago whom she hadn't seen in all that time and getting caught up on their lives and doings. She appreciates where she came from and the great school and teachers who gave her such a good education. One never realizes these things till much later, but the education she got in Wolf Point was right up there with the best and it enabled her to have a successful career.
Fort Peck Community College presented two of the three scholarship awards and honored Johnson with a luncheon on Oct. 1. In addition, Johnson received a beaded necklace, a FPCC t-shirt, an edition of The History of the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation (1600 – 2012) and a tour of the FPCC facilities.
Marcus Vandall and Thomasine Hamilton were the first two scholarship recipients.
Johnson hopes that others who grew up on the Fort Peck Reservation and went on to successful careers will consider making contributions to Fort Peck Community College scholarship fund at http://www.fpcc.edu/pdf/giving_form.pdf.