ROCK SPRINGS – An endowment to assist Western Wyoming Community College students who are pursuing a degree in elementary education has been established in memory of Betty June Richardson.
Ms. Richardson was born on June 28, 1924, at her home, the Thayer Junction train depot. Her father, Wallace, was the depot agent and her mother, Lela, was the postmistress. She lived there until 1927, when the family moved to Superior. Betty attended school in Superior, graduating from Superior High School in 1942 and from the University of Wyoming, where she received her B.A. Degree, in 1945.
Betty’s teaching career began in Cromwell, Connecticut. After one year, she returned to Rock Springs to teach a combination second- and third-grade class of 39 students. She taught in Washington School for three years until she applied to teach at the American Overseas Independent Schools in Munich, Germany. Coincidentally, the head of all of these schools in Germany was Col. Robert Outsen, a native of Rock Springs and the principal of Betty’s elementary school when she was in the first grade at Superior. Betty was the first University of Wyoming graduate and the first Wyoming teacher to be chosen to teach in the Overseas Schools.
After two years overseas, Betty returned to teach fourth grade at Lincoln School for one year, and then she moved to teach fourth grade at Walled Lake, Michigan. In 1955 she returned to Rock Springs, teaching third grade at Roosevelt School for four years and then transferring to Lowell, where she taught and served as principal until the State Department required principals to have a Master’s Degree. Betty then moved to Lincoln School, where she taught third grade until her retirement in 1989.
Betty enjoyed traveling, and while teaching in Germany she traveled to 22 countries and returned to Europe three times after returning home. She also spent time in Jamaica and traveled to 48 of the 50 states. Her interests included bridge, Bunco, writing, and knitting. She was a lifetime member of the Wyoming PTA, a charter member of the Retired School Employees Association, and a member of the Sweetwater County Historical Society and the Methodist Church.
Betty’s destiny to become a teacher began early in her life. She was named “Betty” for a close family friend and her first grade teacher, Betty Moore. When she was in the third grade, she had another teacher, Margaret Frances, who allowed Betty to assist her by washing boards, correcting papers, passing out books and papers, and being a classroom assistant. Betty admired this teacher and often told Ms. Frances that she “would be a teacher just like her when she grew up.”
At the age of 8, Betty knew where life would take her. Betty loved teaching and she served children for 43 years. She passed away in Rock Springs on May 19, 2014. It was Betty’s desire to help students who had an interest in teaching to further their education. The Betty June Richardson Endowment will assist those students.
Any student interested in applying for this scholarship should contact the Financial Aid Office at Western Wyoming Community College at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (307) 382-1643.