PLAINFIELD – Darlene Harrington has a special place in her heart for children with special needs.
In fact, she has dedicated much of her professional life to teaching and helping special needs students succeed in the regular education classroom. She has a master's degree in early childhood special education, and has taught special needs children both professionally and as a church volunteer for 15 years.
Now, Harrington is going back to school herself to become an even better teacher.
Harrington is the 2016 winner of the Bonnie McBeth Early Learning Scholarship. She will use the $1,500 gift to complete graduate-level training in autism and behavioral-related courses at the University of St. Francis.
Bonnie McBeth was District 202's first kindergarten teacher in 1951. She taught kindergarten and reading and also worked as a reading specialist during her 38-year education career.
She created and endowed the annual scholarship in 2007 to support early learning teachers taking graduate-level course work in early childhood education. McBeth passed away in February 2014.
The Plainfield Foundation for Excellence – District 202's private fundraising organization – administers the McBeth scholarship. Foundation Trustees Ina Brixey and Pat Herman, who were both close friends of McBeth's, chose this year's winner.