Kate Bender had a wicked sense of humor that those who took the time to get to know her came to really appreciate. She had a heart of gold and went out of her way to help others, especially when it came to navigating through the intricacies of the State Education Department’s bureaucracy.
Mrs. Bender was best known around Huntington UFSD for the longtime role she played in the personnel office. For many years, every teacher joining the faculty worked with her during the hiring process and again later to secure their permanent state certification.
Mrs. Bender’s well-deserved retirement was cut tragically short when she was felled by pancreatic cancer following an exceptionally hard-fought battle against the terrible disease. She never lost her upbeat nature or smile, even in the midst of her health struggles.
After Mrs. Bender passed away in December 2017, a scholarship was created in her memory. Her devoted co-workers and loving family help fund the new award, which was presented for the first time in June 2018 to graduating senior Rocio Rivas Lizama. The 2019 award went to Mackenzie Joseph.
This year’s $2,000 scholarship was presented to Faith Youngquist, one of the most outstanding members of Huntington’s Class of 2020. The teenager plans to study human development and early childhood education at Binghamton University.
Mrs. Bender was the epitome of perseverance, patience and positivity. The scholarship criteria requires the ultimate recipient to “demonstrate persistence and determination in overcoming or managing some sort of obstacle or challenge.”
“When I heard about the Kate Bender Memorial Scholarship, I was moved by her story and her impact the Huntington Union Free School District,” Ms. Youngquist said. “I knew that by winning this scholarship I would be able to honor her memory. I applied for this scholarship because I believe that I will carry out Mrs. Bender’s perseverance, patience and positivity throughout my future at Binghamton University as part of their human development program and throughout my life. I hope to influence the people around me and be a leader in my field just like Kate Bender.”
Ms. Youngquist credits her success to “perseverance through all challenges.” A member of the National Honor Society and Tri-M Music Honor Society, she performed in five high school drama club productions, served in the student government, sang with the chamber choir and the a capella chorus, played flute with the wind ensemble and earned top grades.
Kate Bender Memorial Scholarship Award Recipients
2018 Rocio Rivas Lizama
2019 Mackenzie Joseph
2020 Faith Youngquist