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Two generous local donors have committed funds to help relieve student loan debt for recent Central Washington University graduates who are pursuing a career in education in Kittitas County. 

This is the second year the anonymous donors have funded this award, and after the committee reviewed the application and essay submissions, two recipients were chosen.

“We think teachers are very important to society, they train our future citizens,” the donors said. “We also think they are underpaid and it must be very difficult for them starting out, especially when they are burdened with a large student loan. We wanted to do something to make the transition into their career easier. We would do it for every teacher if we could.”

The recipients, Shawn and Jordan Madigan, both recently graduated from Central in education. Shawn is currently a middle school math teacher at Kittitas Secondary School, and Jordan is a kindergarten teacher at Lincoln Elementary.

The couple recently got married and say this award has been a weight lifted off their shoulders as they begin their life together.

“This award makes us emotional every time we think about it,” said the Madigans. “We feel honored. It gives us the opportunity to purchase our first home sooner, and also allows us to put more money into our classrooms to enrich the learning experiences of our kindergarten and middle school students.”

Jordan has dreamt about educating young minds since she was very young, and during her time at CWU discovered she had a passion for early childhood education. She says that her Central education is what gave her the opportunity to pursue a career that she loves, and she even has practicum student’s art on the walls of her classroom each quarter.

Shawn was part of the first group of students to complete CWU’s Teach STEM program, which gave him the skills needed to do his job every day. He also credits Central with teaching him about emotional and social learning, leading him to take on a role in extracurricular activities, such as coaching, so that students can see him as not just their math teacher, but someone that they can come to for any of life’s problems. 

Though they do not know exactly who has provided them with the debt relief, they have a message to the donors.

“You are a reminder that this world is filled with incredibly generous people. Your kindness is something we will never forget and has lifted the biggest financial burden in our lives. We will forever be grateful for you and your act of kindness. Thank you!”

October 2020

Story by: Robin Burck