Marilyn M. & Burt C. Gearhart Family Scholarship
Marilyn and Burt are pleased to support the Pleasant Valley Educational Foundation. Their intent is to provide a deserving graduating PV senior the opportunity to help further their continuing education. Education has played an important role throughout the couple’s lives, leading to successful careers in their chosen fields.
Marilyn is originally from Brooklyn, Iowa, and holds two degrees in Education (BSEd, 1968, Truman State University and MSEd, 1979, Texas A & M) and taught for 32 years in grades ranging from preschool to 8th grade science. She also coached girls’ basketball for almost 20 years. Marilyn volunteers at the Buffalo Bill Museum and the LeClaire Community Library and enjoys traveling, outdoors, friends, and family.
Burt is originally from Newton, Iowa, and holds two degrees in Industrial Engineering (BSIE, 1966, MSIE, 1968, University of Iowa). He was employed by Electronic Data Systems (EDS) and Harris Corporation in Dallas, Texas, before starting his own software development company, Applied Computer Technology (ACT), specializing in data communications protocol testing. He retired in 2001 to pursue a hobby in nature and sports photography. He is frequently seen photographing bald eagles at Lock & Dam 14 and various musical and athletic events of his grandchildren.
The couple lived in the Dallas, Texas, area for 38 years before returning to Iowa in 2007 to be with family.
Their daughter, Chris Cournoyer, has a degree in Computer Science from the University of Texas (BSCS, 1992). She currently serves as an Iowa State Senator and is a self-employed website developer. She serves on the Southeast Iowa STEM Advisory Board, is the President of the Quad-City Engineering and Science Council, serves on the Advocacy Committee for the Junior League of the Quad-Cities, and is a Reserve Deputy in the Scott County Sheriff’s Department.
The couple has four grandchildren: Bennett (PV 2016), Sydney (PV 2018), Tanner and Chase Cournoyer (PV 2025).
Criteria to Apply:
- Student will attend 2-4 year college or vocational/trade school the first semester after graduation.
- Student will attend school in Iowa or Truman State University.
- Student will have a GPA of at least 3.0.
- Student will have participated in Pleasant Valley High School extra-curricular activities.
- Student will have one letter of recommendation from outside school and include a 200 word essay.
Applications will be evaluated on the following:
- Established future goals and plans to achieve them
- Ability to communicate
- Self-motivation in completing challenging activities
- Self-confidence and ability to seize opportunities
Scholarship Personal Statement/Essay:
- In less than 250 words (1700 characters), please tell us why you've chosen your field of study.
- In less than 250 words (1700 characters), please tell us what your plans are after your post-secondary education is complete.
- In less than 250 words (1700 characters), please tell us about one of the following: your ability to problem solve, work with others, and/or your dedication to the community.
- In less than 250 words (1700 characters), please tell us how you've overcome an obstacle.
- In less than 250 words (1700 characters), please tell us anything else about yourself you think the selection committee would like to know.
- Describe an experience (in 200 words or less) you have had where you seized an opportunity. How did you grow as a result?
*If you choose to attend an educational institution that does not meet the criteria for this scholarship, your scholarship may be revoked.
Past Scholarship Recipients
2022 Benson Richards
2021 Kane Zemo
2020 Miranda Miller
2019 Jamie Trentz
2018 Olivia Peters
2017 Ryan Thompson