Thomas Fuller once said, “He that plants trees loves others besides himself.” Often, we may not know for certain what our gifts grow into, but sometimes we are fortunate enough to get a glimpse. Alumni Beverly and Roy Grice recently had the opportunity to see firsthand the impact of their giving in a classroom at Whittier Elementary School in Boise.
Beverly Grice has always been a teacher. She went straight to the classroom after college graduation in 1972, and for more than 27 years taught first- and second- graders until she retired from the Meridian (now West Ada) School District. More than 20 years later, she misses being in the classroom. No one knows this more than her husband of 40 years, Roy.
Roy and Beverly met at what was then Boise College in 1967. At first Roy, a history major, thought she wasn’t interested in him, but realized that maybe she was just a little shy. Then he had the opportunity to see Beverly practice teaching in a classroom. “She came to life. There was no sign of shyness,” he said.
Nearly 50 years later, the Grices returned to the classroom together, this time as special guests visiting Itxaso Cayero, a second-grade teacher at Whittier, who as a student at Boise State had received a scholarship set up by the Grices.
Cayero led the class in a rotation of learning exercises.
“You can tell she enjoys what she’s doing,” Roy said. “It’s wonderful,” added Beverly. “I see an excellent teacher who knows how to handle a classroom.”
Born in Boise, Cayero grew up in the Spanish region of the Basque country. She graduated from Boise State with a double major in bilingual education/ESL with minors in Spanish and Basque Studies. The scholarships she received made it possible for her to stay and pursue her passion for education. Today, she is a classroom instructor, and a language coordinator and teacher for the North American Basque Organizations Inc., which gives her the opportunity to teach all over the nation, as well as speak at conferences and lead workshops for future teachers.
The highlight of her work, Cayero said, is impacting kids, some of whom may live in poverty and don’t have the same opportunities in life. Her goal is to push all of her students to achieve and become the people they want to become, an ideal that matches closely the hope and vision that the Grices had when they first established a scholarship fund for students like Cayero.
“We wanted to support students who understood the importance of an educa- tion for their peers and their families — role models for other people in their communi- ties,” said Roy, who shares Cayero’s concerns about the challenges for some students. The Grices observe that even though the world is changing, some students have extra obstacles to overcome.
Placing a high value on education is something both Roy and Beverly said was instilled in them by their parents. They attribute Beverly’s success as an educator and Roy’s successful business career to a quality education at Boise State. Now they’ve returned to share their wishes and dreams for young students.
The Grices have established 20 scholarships for 16 students so far (some earned funding for multiple years). Most of the re- cipients are older, many are married with families, volunteering and working while they go to school full time.
“We always wanted to do something with education and scholarships,” said Roy. “So we called Boise State.” The Grices report that they are happy with their decision, and stay in touch so they can get to know the students receiving their scholarships.
“It’s given us purpose,” said Roy. “The students are so motivated. Being able to be a part of their growth and watch them go through this process is a great feeling — it’s inspiring and a little bit humbling.”
The Grices are advocates for the rewards of endowing scholarships. They’ve gotten to know students like Cayero and hear their stories. Their philosophy is that the students have given more to them than they could possibly ever give.
“I’m happy to help,” said Beverly. “It makes me feel good, especially when I see someone like Itxaso. She’s so good.”
The legacy of giving inspired by the Grices has reached even further than their scholarship recipients. It’s planted in the hearts of Cayero’s students, who became hopeful, themselves, when they heard their teacher’s story. Her story meant it was possible that they could go to college, too.
Words of encouragement came for Cayero as the Grices departed. “You epitomize everything that we hoped to achieve. Thank you so much,” said Roy.
Beverly was beaming. “Keep up the good work. You’re wonderful.”