Karen Louise Laihr Teaching Scholarship

Built by standing on the shoulders of those who came before her, this scholarship was established by Adeline Pax Laihr to support and encourage future teachers and nurses who feel a deep calling to the vocation of service. Beginning with her great grandmother, who acted upon the need for a mid-wife and teacher in her community, this legacy is a continuation of the Spirit-filled, strong and generous women in Adeline’s family, their lives of service and value of education.

Born in 1917 in western Ohio, Adeline Pax Laihr was the second of twelve children. She excelled in school, and because her mother recognized this, arrangements were made for Adeline to live with her grandmother so she could attend high school. She earned state honors in Math and Latin, graduated with distinction and was granted a scholarship to Mount St. Joseph College in Cincinnati. However, the Great Depression necessitated that Adeline work immediately after high school to save her family farm and the unused scholarship was returned.

Adeline worked hard to save enough money to attend Capital University at night for secretarial classes. This foresight enabled her to provide for her two young daughters after she was widowed. She volunteered for her daughters’ school health program, testing hearing and sight acuity. She was the coordinator for their district during the mass Polio vaccination sessions, and she treasured her work for Right to Life. Years later, when both daughters were secure in their professions, Adeline earned an Associate of Science in Business Administration degree from Franklin University.

Adeline Pax Laihr cared deeply about the education of her daughters Karen and Brenda, which she funded through college. She took interest in their schoolwork and provided summer learning opportunities. She encouraged her daughters to participate alongside her with compassion and tenderness in the daily care and exercise of her son Bruce, who was born with Down Syndrome and passed to eternal life as a toddler. Adeline encouraged her daughter Karen to pursue her dream of teaching when the course work was difficult and finances were scarce, and she served as a beacon for the vocation of nursing to Brenda.

From Adeline her daughters learned to be strong in the rough times, to trust in God and to honor commitments. She was a resourceful, faith-filled Catholic and devout steward of God’s graces, who saved despite her circumstances to care for the needs of others.

Adeline was Karen’s rock of strength and anchor from Kindergarten until the last day of her forty-second year of teaching. Karen learned patience, empathy and respect for others – the heart of a teacher—from her mother. It is these qualities and a passion for teaching that Adeline Pax Laihr wished to encourage in the recipient of this scholarship.

Eligibility Requirements and Criteria

  • Must be a graduating high school student from the Diocese of Columbus, Ohio
  • Must be pursuing a degree in teaching or nursing
  • Must provide a letter of nomination from a parish leader, such as clergy or youth minister
  • After reviewing the biography, students must submit an essay answering the following two questions in 350 words or less: Why do you feel called to perform good works for others through your vocation of teaching or nursing?
  • Demonstration without financial prejudice that the scholarship will most enable the student to realize his/her vocation may be considered in close decisions

Amount of Award
This fund provides two scholarships, one for each vocation and is each payable over 4 years with demonstrated enrollment and proof each year of major in the field of teaching or nursing. Scholarship awards and amounts will vary, depending on availability of funds. Scholarship awards are made payable directly to the institution of enrollment on the student’s behalf, for the purposes and expenses associated with tuition, fees, textbooks, and required supplies and equipment.

Please contact Dan Kurth at dkurth@catholic-foundation.org with any questions.

Child being handed a book from a woman in a classroom setting.
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“Consider this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 
2 Corinthians 9: 6-7