Scholarship: Ignacio Ruiz Scholarship for Future Bilingual Teachers
About the Sponsor
Ignacio Ruiz was the son of immigrants from the Basque region in Spain. He arrived to his first-grade classroom in Ripon, California, speaking only Spanish, the first member of his family to attend school. Thanks to his family’s support, his teachers, and his quick intelligence, Ignacio graduated from high school with honors. Ignacio and his wife, Josephine, had 4 children, all of whom graduated from college. When one of his children, Nadeen, was deciding in the mid-seventies whether to pursue a bilingual elementary teaching credential, Ignacio wrote her a letter early one morning at the kitchen table, before going out to work on the family’s small almond farm. In that letter he encouraged her to use her “dual language proficiency” in whichever career she chose. Ignacio was pleased that Nadeen became a bilingual teacher in the Central Valley and dedicated her professional and academic career to improving the educational services provided to English Learners. Nadeen Ruiz, now professor of Bilingual Multicultural Education at Sacramento State University, still shares her father’s letter with her students who are studying to become bilingual teachers.
Ignacio Ruiz passed away in 2005, leaving all of his children and grandchildren the legacy of a college education, and a deep appreciation for the importance of higher education for immigrant families and their children. The Ignacio Ruiz Scholarship for Future Bilingual Teachers was created in honor of Ignacio and Josephine Ruiz. The recipient of this yearly scholarship of $2,500 is a future bilingual teacher who has shown a special vocation to work with students learning English as a second language. Recipients also pursue the bilingual authorization with their elementary or secondary teaching credential-- an authorization that provides teachers with additional expertise in effectively instructing English Learners and assisting them in obtaining a college education.