News from the MED Foundation

BY: thayne
POSTED May 5, 2024 IN
General

The Mary Ellen Dolcini Scholarship Foundation is pleased to offer higher education scholarships for graduating high school seniors of Mexican-American heritage.  Graduating seniors in good standing from Davis Senior High, Martin Luther King High School, Woodland Senior High, and Pioneer High School will be eligible to apply.  Beginning this year, the Foundation is also including graduating seniors from Winters and Esparto high schools.

The Foundation was formed to fulfill the wishes of Mary Ellen Dolcini who passed away in 2018.  Dr. Dolcini was a life-long resident and career educator in Davis, California.  She left a portion of her estate to provide scholarships to Mexican-American high school graduates from Davis, Woodland and the surrounding area in Yolo County to pursue a college education.  To carry out her wishes, the Board of Directors of The Mary Ellen Dolcini Scholarship Foundation will select Dolcini Scholars each year from local high schools.  Students will be selected based on need, merit, and overall performance in high school including extracurricular activities and recommendations.

Mary Ellen Dolcini was a member of one of Yolo County’s pioneer families and was born and raised in Davis, the fourth of six children born to Valente F. Dolcini and June Plant Dolcini.

A proud alumna of Davis public schools, she graduated from Davis High School in 1944, serving as valedictorian and commencement speaker for her graduating class. She received a scholarship to UC Berkeley where she graduated with honors in 1948, receiving a degree in Latin American studies. She stayed for an additional year and earned a secondary teaching credential. She began her long and distinguished career with the Davis Joint Unified School District when she was hired in 1954 to teach a combined fifth- and sixth-grade class at East Davis School (later Valley Oak Elementary). From there, she became the Principal of the new North Davis School (under construction in a wheat field) where she also served as the morning kindergarten teacher. She returned to East Davis School and served for five years as principal before returning to UC Berkeley where she received a doctorate in education in 1964. 

Throughout her career, she was recognized by her peers as a state and national leader in educational policy issues and she served the California Teachers Association, the National Education Association, and the National Association for Accreditation of Teacher Education Programs in a number of leadership positions over the course of her career. She traveled extensively and served as an ambassador for American education in Europe, Latin America, Africa, and elsewhere throughout the world. 

A fluent Spanish speaker until her death, Mary Ellen visited nearly every country in Central and South America over the course of her life, beginning with an overland bicycle journey through Mexico in 1951.  Her subsequent years of service to the DJUSD included stints as principal of Emerson Jr. High School, an appointment as associate superintendent for instruction, and a final assignment at North Davis Elementary, where she served as principal for the last 10 years of her career in public education. She retired in 1990.  

For additional information about the scholarship, necessary criteria for applying, and the life of Mary Ellen Dolcini, please visit https://maryellendolcinischolarship.com.  

thayne
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