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ABWA scholarship launches woman's international career

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ROCHELLE B. BIRKELO
January 24, 2011
— When Sandy Hynes began collecting information about past recipients of American Business Women's Association scholarships for the group's monthly bulletin, she got more than she planned.

Janesville native Carrie Drew sent a lengthy response from Tunisia along with a $500 donation.


"It just seemed like the thing to do," Drew wrote in an e-mail. "I think most people like to help someone who has helped them. And as a teacher, helping raise funds for scholarships makes sense."


Drew graduated from Parker High School in 1979 and used her $500 ABWA scholarship to help pay for her bachelor's degree in elementary education at UW-Eau Claire.


The money gave her a "vote of confidence," she said.


"When someone believes you are a good student and deserving of the recognition, it keeps you motivated to continue to work hard," she said.


That's what Drew did.


She began her teaching career in Janesville at St. William School alongside her former teachers.


Three years later, Drew earned a master's degree in reading from State University of New York-Brockport.


While finishing her master's thesis, Drew returned to Janesville, working as a substitute teacher and holding down another job in Madison. Two weeks after attending a job fair and learning about international schools, she accepted a job to teach in Japan.


She stayed for six years.


Later, Drew taught in Minnesota for five years before teaching in Thailand. Today, she is teaching at the American Cooperative School of Tunis in Tunisia in North Africa.


"I'm still teaching second grade and wouldn't have it any other way," she said.


Drew credits ABWA for getting her started in what has become a 25-year career in teaching.


She and her husband, who is a high school principal, will move in August to Russia, where they have accepted positions at the Anglo-American School of Moscow.


"I hope you continue to help many other young women in their scholastic endeavors," she wrote.


Since 1985, the local ABWA chapter has awarded nearly $100,000 in scholarships and grants, Hynes said.


"It is great to see what you can do if you are brave enough to step out on your own," she said of Drew.



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