Posted on Monday, November 9, 2020
Heather Stanford Fry ’92
B.A., Elementary Education
Heather Stanford Fry walks into her classroom each day armed with the skills and knowledge developed during her undergraduate years at Westminster College. As a gifted support teacher in the Grove City School District, Heather often recalls the teachings of her Westminster professors, those who helped provide her with a strong foundation for a successful career.
Why did you choose Westminster College?
I loved the small school feel and the personal connections with faculty and staff as well as the beautiful campus and the amazing education and theatre departments! The reputation of Westminster was a huge reason for my choice.
What have you been up to since graduating?
I earned my master’s degree and principal’s certification at Slippery Rock University. I have been with the Grove City School District for 27 years: I taught kindergarten for two years, Title I reading and math for eight years and have been the gifted support teacher for 17 years. I am the Pennsylvania representative to the Academic Games League of America (AGLOA) Tournament Council and take students to the National Academic Games Tournament every year. I have two sons, Hunter (20) and Cayde (17), and one stepson, Lane (17). I spend my time attending my youngest son’s high school, travel and club soccer games and high school tennis matches and I am president of the Greenville High School Boys Soccer Boosters. My husband Dan and I enjoy vacationing in Clearwater Beach, Florida, and in my spare time I love watching Penguins hockey and Pirates baseball, scrapbooking, my Jeep and watching “The Big Bang Theory.”
What Westminster professors influenced you the most and why?
Education professors Dr. Dar Huey and Dr. Jerb Miller—two of the most amazing educators I have ever known. They taught with heart and with kindness. They weren’t just teachers of content. They cared for all their students and it showed in their actions and in their words.
How well did Westminster prepare you for your career?
Westminster gave me an amazing education with a foundation that I still rely on today. I still hear the voices of Jerb Miller and Dar Huey—their words of wisdom guide my teaching. The content was important, but the love for the profession was fostered at Westminster by the best education faculty: Mary Hill, Gene Hill, Jerb Miller, Dar Huey and Allan Johnston.
How would you describe the level of academics you experienced during your time at Westminster College?
Westminster classes were rigorous and made you think outside the box. The professors challenged you to work to your potential—and then challenged you more. The education department raised the bar high so we could become the best educators we could be.
What internships or student research projects did you conduct during your time at Westminster?
I did internships during January Term at West Middlesex and Hermitage school districts, my student teaching at Musser in Sharon. During another January Term, I went to Westminster College in Oxford, England, for a student exchange, visiting elementary schools and traveling the country with Jerb Miller.
Were you involved in any student organizations at Westminster?
Kappa Delta Pi, the international education honor society; Mortar Board, the senior honor society; Pi Sigma Pi, the honor society for juniors and seniors; and VISA
What makes the Westminster College experience unique?
Westminster is a family. The personal connections with the faculty were so important. I remember during freshman orientation being invited to the homes of our faculty advisers for a barbecue. We knew our professors’ families and they treated us like family. Westminster felt like home.
What significant life lesson did you learn at Westminster?
Hard work pays off. I took some difficult classes I was sure I would have trouble with, but with amazing faculty and lots of hard work, those classes became some of my favorite classes at Westminster.
Why should a prospective student consider coming to Westminster College?
You should consider attending because Westminster will not only give you a world-class education in a beautiful, small school setting, but it will also give you a family for life.
Knowing what you know now, what piece of advice would you give to yourself on that first day on campus?
Join as much as you can. Stay on campus and go to football games and participate in student activities. Get involved!
How has Westminster’s alumni network benefited you?
Westminster alumni stick together. I can always find a Titan to network with! Those connections are like reconnecting with family—even if we graduated years apart!
To learn more about Westminster College’s education major, please click here.