Kate Bender was a real sweetheart. She 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.
Huntington Class of 2019 alum Mackenzie Joseph plans to study business at the University of Virginia
Mrs. Bender’s well-earned retirement was cut terribly short when she was felled by pancreatic cancer following an incredibly hard-fought battle against the awful disease. She was known for a wicked sense of humor and she could deadpan with the best of them. 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 help fund the new award, which was presented for the first time in June 2018 to graduating senior Rocio Rivas Lizama. This year’s award went to Mackenzie Joseph, one of the most talented members of Huntington’s Class of 2019.
Kate Bender “truly epitomized perseverance, patience and positivity,” the Bender family told a crowd of about 325 at Huntington’s senior academic awards night. The scholarship criteria requires the ultimate recipient to “demonstrate persistence and determination in overcoming or managing some sort of obstacle or challenge.”
Ms. Joseph is a wonderful young woman, brimming with enthusiasm. She sets high standards for herself and she works hard to attain an inspiring list of goals. The teenager plans to study business entrepreneurship at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.
Founded in 1819 by President Thomas Jefferson, the University of Virginia was created as a “bold experiment” as a public university “designed to advance human knowledge, educate leaders and cultivate an informed citizenry.”
Mr. Jefferson designed many of the most famous campus buildings himself. The University of Virginia stands today as one of the top colleges in the United States. Huntington High School teachers expect Ms. Joseph to thrive on the campus and in her studies.
The teenager said the key to her success has “been remaining grateful in the face of challenges.” Ms. Joseph competed on the Blue Devil track and field team, winning dozens of medals in invitational meets.
Ms. Joseph has operated her own e-commerce business since June 2018. She an ingenious, articulate and creative young woman who works very hard in every aspect of her life. Kate Bender would be quite proud of this remarkable teenager.