Community Engagement

Annual Laura A. Martins Teachers Scholarship

Jul 24, 2023 by IDEX Health & Science

Prior to the construction of Middletown High School, the town utilized five one-room schoolhouse buildings: Wyatt (1700’s), Peabody (1794), Oliphant (1823), Paradise (1875), and Witherbee (1892). Each were an integral part of the Middletown school system, with Paradise and Witherbee remaining as historic sites in Middletown. They represent a bygone era of learning when schools had no electricity, bathrooms, or effective heating system. During this time, a teacher would have the responsibility of teaching all subjects to several grades of students within the schoolhouse.

Brian O’Flaherty’s (an IDEX Health & Science Key Account Manager) great Aunt, Laura A. Martins, was a first generation American. Laura taught in two of these one-room schoolhouses in Middletown, Rhode Island from 1917 to 1943, then continued to teach in the Newport school systems for 10 more years. In memory of this extraordinary teacher, Brian has donated $6,000 total over the last six years which was graciously matched by the IDEX Matching Gift Program for aspiring teachers.

young woman is presented with scholarship

Although the Scholarship did not receive applicants in 2023, Brian O’Flaherty (scholarship founder) elected to continue his annual donation and asked Middletown High School to nominate students who “may have been overlooked and have worked hard.” 

This year’s winners are Melania McKenzie (pictured here with Brian O’Flaherty), who is planning to study pharmacy at the University of Rhode Island, and Jason Hayes.

Congratulations to both of our 2023 winners!

congrats to shakira and katherine for receiving the teachers scholarship

As of 2022, we are in our 5th year and have now helped 8 future teachers! It is a privilege to announce that the 2022 Laura A. Martins Scholarship winners are Shakira Hall and Katherine Stahl. The $2,000.00 scholarship will be equally divided between them ($1,000.00 each).

This award supports both scholars in their journey to become a teacher. Shakira Hall (middle) will be attending Roger Williams University in Rhode Island and studying Education. Katherine Stahl (right) will be attending Manhattanville College and studying Elementary Education.

Both are well deserving and possess the aptitude/skills needed to be an effective leader and future teacher — recognizing the impact teachers can have on others, and the drive to be that same person for someone else.

congrats caleb for receiving the teachers scholarship

This year, the scholarship was awarded to Caleb Leys. Caleb will attend the University of Maine this fall to focus on a degree in athletic training for professional athletes. This degree focuses on what causes sports injuries and how to prevent them. His goal is to become an athletic trainer. Congratulations Caleb, we wish you the best of luck!

congrats andrew and ashanti for receiving the teachers scholarship

In 2020, the scholarship was awarded to two winners, Andrew Skirzenski and Ashanti Prout. Andrew studies Education for Mathematics at SUNY Albany and Ashanti studies Elementary Education at New England College.

congrats madison for receiving the teachers scholarship

In 2019, the scholarship was awarded to Madison Holden. She is attending Rhode Island College for her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Elementary Education, Special Education and Sign Language for the deaf. Even before Madison received this scholarship, she was regularly volunteering as a peer-model to students with severe and profound physical and cognitive needs. She has a passion and drive to help students grow and learn no matter what their background or learning disability is.

congrats abbey and laurie for receiving the teachers scholarship

In 2018, the scholarship was awarded to two winners, Abbey Loughlin and Laurie Hall. Abbie is attending Merrimack College to become an elementary school teacher and Laurie is attending Ithaca College to become a music teacher.