Adams State alumna memory honored with scholarship

(02-23-2011)

Howard and Clea Espinosa

Clea Bailey Espinosa's dedication to education and commitment to achieving goals inspired her son, Howard B. Espinosa, to establish a scholarship in her memory. Graduating Sanford High School seniors, majoring in education at Adams State College, will receive first preference for the scholarship; second and third preferences are liberal arts or science majors. The recipient will be selected by the Sanford High School Scholarship Committee.

"My mother was a very positive person who held a strong commitment toward education," Howard said. Clea taught for 46 years at the first grade level and taught reading, writing, and basic arithmetic to over 1600 students. "She always had the time to meet with her students' parents and encouraged them to get very involved with their child's education."

Both Clea and Howard, and Clea's older son, Lyle, all graduated from Adams State in the same ceremony. Lyle received his master's degree and Clea and Howard received their bachelor's degrees, in August 1956. "Dr. Plachy (emeritus president) commented on what an unusual and rewarding event for our family."

It was definitely a rewarding experience for Clea who attended Adams State almost every summer to complete her bachelor's degree. She was 50 years old when she received her BA. Howard remembers having two classes with his mother. "Mother held extremely strong work ethics and knew the dignity of hard work. She never was a quitter and instilled these principles in her three children. She never complained but was such a positive, outgoing person at all times. Mother was instrumental in developing values for hundreds of children."

Clea started teaching right out of high school, at the age of 18. She held a Provisional Normal Teaching Certificate her first years of teaching. She taught students at Ortiz, La Souses, Sanford, Manassa, Nortonville, and Alamosa.

"Mother was very supportive of decisions I had to make and encouraged her three children to attend college," Howard said. Their home was in Sanford, Colo. "Ranching in the San Luis Valley was a cold and challenging time of my youth," he added.

After completing his degree at Adams State, Howard's career remained in education. He was a school principal for 25 years in Reno, Nev. He retired from education in 1990 after 34 years. "Obtaining my degree at Adams State opened several opportunities and enabled me to attain many lifetime goals."

After receiving her degree, Clea continued teaching for 14 more years. Lyle taught and coached in Colorado and Nevada. "Adams State enabled all three of us to pursue a great worthy vocation in education," Howard said.