Michelle Hershberger and Yvonne Fetterman share a common inspiration. They were both students who were influenced and mentored by Doris J. Leibfreid, a Life Sciences and Biology teacher who taught for 35 years at Westmont Hilltop High School. Ms. Leibfreid helped pave the way for women entering STEM fields by studying and teaching biology at a time when women were not readily accepted and often discouraged from pursuing scientific fields.
In addition to teaching, Ms. Leibfreid also coached girls’ basketball and girls’ volleyball during her career. She enthusiastically supported girls’ sports at Westmont and demonstrated unwavering support for the athletes that she mentored. She had a particular love for the sport of volleyball and coached the girls’ high school volleyball team for 20 years before her retirement in 1998.
“Ms. Leibfreid was one of the first teachers I met in high school and unbeknownst to me she would soon become my favorite teacher of all time. She was my favorite teacher not because she was an easy A, but because she made me strive to earn my A” said Michelle. “She made learning interesting and often fun,” continued Hershberger.
Michelle and Yvonne are dedicated to keeping Doris’ memory alive by creating a scholarship in her name. “To create this scholarship in Doris’s name is our way of showing our gratitude to her,” said Yvonne.” It is our wish that through this scholarship her legacy will speak to many others and make a difference in their lives, the same way she did in ours” continued Fetterman.
“We all have the ingredients to be successful in life–the brains, the drive, the talent, the looks. But without a catalyst to bring it all together, it doesn’t happen,” said Hershberger. “Doris Leibfreid was that catalyst for many of her students. She became the force that pushed us to our success. It was her voice in our heads pushing us to do better, to strive to reach further, to work harder, to dream bigger, and to demand that success for ourselves. She taught us that we can become whatever we want if we work hard and are true to ourselves. She believed in us and wanted us to be successful. That is what made her so special to us, and such a beloved teacher and friend,” continued Hershberger.
The Doris J. Leibfreid Memorial Scholarship was created to contribute to the success of the female athletes and scholars of the Westmont Hilltop school district. The scholarship will provide $2,000 in financial support for a graduating female senior student at Westmont Hilltop High School who is a good student, a varsity athlete, and is entering a science-or health-related field. To contribute to this fund, click here. To create a scholarship or legacy fund, please contact Katrina Perkosky at firstname.lastname@example.org.