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Helping Single Parents Succeed

Helping Single Parents Succeed

In 2014–15, the Myra Fox Skelton Scholars Program, which is matched by state funds, helped seven students further their educations at the University of Wyoming at Casper, including Katelyn Taft, who recently graduated with her bachelor’s in social work.

“It’s such a relief when you get those letters in the mail that you get accepted for scholarships such as these,” says Katelyn. “A huge weight gets lifted off your shoulders.”

Myra Fox Skelton

Originally from Pavillion, Wyoming, Katelyn moved to Casper in 2008 and decided to attend school. She received an associate’s degree in early childhood development, then continued her education to get a degree in social work. She accomplished all of this while taking care of her 3-year-old son, Talen.

“It was amazing because, while I was getting the scholarship, I didn’t have to work,” explains Katelyn. “I got to put all of my effort toward my schooling and my son. It’s was just amazing to be able to do that and be able to excel in my studies rather than having to worry about paying bills.”

Currently, she works for Head Start in Casper, a job that she waited for—but it was worth it because she was hired the day of her interview. She visits children in their home and develops curriculum to assist with their educations.

Katelyn has always loved working with kids, and she believes her schooling has made her a better mother for her son. It would have been nearly impossible for her to achieve this success without the Myra Fox Skelton scholarship, and she is forever grateful for the opportunity.

“I just love being able to work with kids and being able to make a difference in people’s lives and knowing I can do that by helping these parents and these children,” says Katelyn.

To qualify for this program, students must be single parents pursuing a college degree to better their lives and the lives of their children. The funds help them fulfill their academic potential by reducing the number of hours they must work to support their education and families, thereby increasing the time they devote to their studies and their families. The gift provides a generous monthly living allowance, which is paid to each student either in a four-month semester or in the nine-month academic year. UW-Casper faculty and staff select the award winners from a pool of applicants.

Myra Fox Skelton was born July 26, 1899, in Osceola, Nebraska. At age 12, the Fox family moved to Dubois where she attended grade school and high school. In 1919, she enrolled at the University of Wyoming. Following graduation in 1922, she moved to Thermopolis.

She was elected Superintendent of Schools in Hot Springs County at age 23, the youngest person ever to hold this type of office in the U.S. She married Warren V. Skelton, and together they became involved in the oil and gas leasing business. She moved to Casper in 1939 when Warren became the Oil and Gas Commissioner for the state of Wyoming.

Skelton has given to various organizations, including the University of Wyoming Alumni Association, Casper College, and various religious and service organizations. In 1973, she funded the Myra Fox Skelton Energy Institute at Casper College. She later funded the walkway between her institute and the Tate Museum.

When the Myra Fox Skelton Foundation was established, she appointed Wells Fargo National Bank as trustee and seven of her advisers to be members of the foundation board. At the time of her death on March 31, 1986, all of her funds became assets of the foundation. Her instructions to the trustee and foundation board members were to distribute the income annually to purposes of importance to church, education, and charity.

 

 


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