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Scholarship helped Faith Fosco graduate despite childhood challenges

Scholarship recipient and education graduate Faith Fosco

Faith Fosco’s journey has been marked with challenges.

Fosco lived in an orphanage in China until she was adopted as a 1 year old. Conditions at the orphanage caused her to experience developmental delays. From early childhood through middle school, Fosco spent extensive time with speech therapists, tutors, reading specialists, and other doctors. Fosco also required intensive physical and occupational therapy due to challenges with sensory input, eating, and both fine- and gross-motor skills. Despite these hurdles, Fosco flourished in school and made her way to Illinois State, where she earned a degree in special education. Her long-fought journey inspired her to become a special education teacher and a champion for her future students.

Fosco made the decision to attend ISU because of the College of Education’s exemplary special education program. Her courses and clinical opportunities provided the opportunity to work with families, professionals and students with different types of disabilities. The interactions Fosco had with special ed classrooms—including a student teaching placement at John F. Kennedy Middle School in Plainfield—have provided a plethora of resources and networks to prepare her for her own classroom. Fosco’s unique upbringing taught her how to foster patience, empathy, and gratitude. Her time at Illinois State sharpened her professional skills.

Faith with parents Helene and Gerard Fosco at the 2019 commencement ceremonies.

Faith Fosco with parents Helene and Gerard Fosco at the 2019 commencement ceremonies.

Fosco says her parents played a huge role in her success because of the great lengths they went to ensure she received the support and services she needed from infancy. It was their persistence that allowed her to keep making strides in her developmental and physical growth.

Fosco also credits donor support for her success at Illinois State. “The Sarah Hazel Buck Scholarship I received allowed me to put my students’ needs first,” said Fosco. “I was able to focus on school and meeting my graduation requirements. I wasn’t stressed about school-related monetary demands such as costs associated with the edTPA exam, classroom materials, graduation, and gathering my classroom supplies.” To her donors she says, “Thank you for your generosity and willingness to support me in my journey as a special education teacher.”

To support the next generation of teachers changing lives, visit Giving.IllinoisState.edu/opportunities/college-education.