A Plymouth State University graduate student has earned a scholarship from a local special needs awareness foundation. The scholarship from the Center Harbor, N.H. based ‘Annie Forts Up Syndrome Fund’ allows Lynn Madore Szumiesz of Concord to pursue her lifelong dream of being a special needs teacher. Szumiesz is a full-time student in PSU’s Master of Education in special education, K-12 program. Up Syndrome Fund spokesperson Linda Lee said Szumiesz was an easy choice for the scholarship.
“She is extremely energized and committed, she is very worthy of our support,” said Lee.
Dr. Dennise Maslakowski, PSU’s associate vice president for graduate studies, says, “This is a wonderful opportunity for a graduate student to pursue her passion; it’s a great way to partner with the community.”
Szumiesz says she is very grateful for the scholarship, adding, “Teaching special needs is who I am, it’s something I love and this helps me immensely.”
Annie Forts of Moultonborough is an advocate for special needs students and a motivational speaker. In 1997, as part of a community-wide celebration to honor member Annie Forts, the Moultonborough Lions Club decided to help Annie realize her dream and start a new fund to assist and encourage young people with Down’s Syndrome. The fund, incorporated in New Hampshire as The Annie Forts “Up” Syndrome Fund, Inc. and approved by the IRS as a 501(c) (3) non-profit charitable fund, is administered by a volunteer board of directors. Forts says Szumiesz was a natural choice for the scholarship funding.
“She is making her dream come true, she’s a great role model for special needs kids,” Forts said.