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Judge Thomas A. and Helen Van Tiem Sr. Early Childhood Scholarship

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Selection Criteria

Recipients shall be admitted students in the elementary education program in the College of Education with an intent and desire to teach grades K-3.  Recipients will be selected based on academic merit.

Biographical Information

This scholarship fund honors the life and career of Helen Van Tiem.  Helen was born in Detroit, Michigan on March 27, 1932.  Her parents were Walter Tobis and Wanda Machota.  She was the youngest of seven children.  Her parents owned and operated the Tobis Market.  Both parents were born in Poland.  Helen was married to Thomas A. Van Tiem Sr. 56’ on December 26, 1953 at St. John Cantius Church in Detroit, Michigan.  Officiating at the ceremony was Helen’s brother the Rev. Walter Tobis. Helen graduated from Saint Mary Academy in Monroe, Michigan in 1949.  She later graduated with a B.A. Degree in Elementary Education from Michigan State University in 1953.  Her first position was teaching first grade at Ann Visger Elementary School in River Rouge, Michigan.  She taught for about two years when she resigned to nurse and care for her sick infant daughter who later died from leukemia.

Helen chose to remain home and reared two daughters and four sons.  During this period she served as a room mother and at other voluntary positions at schools where her children attended.  In addition for several years Helen taught Christian Education at Saint Paul School in Grosse Pointe, Michigan.  Helen and her husband lectured at pre-marriage classes.

When her youngest children were about to graduate from high school Helen returned to college.  She started classes at the second best university in Michigan and one in which she could commute.  Helen graduated with a M.A. degree in Early Childhood Education with a Z.A. Endorsement from the University of Michigan-Dearborn in 1984.

Upon graduation Helen was hired by the University of Michigan to teach at the Child Development Center (CDC).  In 1987 she was appointed Education Coordinator at CDC.  Her position required teaching as well as administration.  During this period she was inducted into the PI Lambda Theta, National Honor and Professional Association.  Helen served as an Adjunct Lecturer for the University of Michigan-Dearborn.  In addition she lectured at early childhood seminars throughout the State of Michigan.  After retirement Helen was a Supervisor of Student Teachers for several years. 

Helen has been active in the Republican Party serving as Vice-President of Grosse Pointe Women’s Republican Club and Precinct Delegate in Detroit.  She was appointed and served as a Member of the United States Selective Service System.

Helen served as a Board Member of the Alumni Association, School of Education, and University of Michigan-Dearborn.  She received the Staff Recognition Award in 1990.  In 1994 Helen was the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year, School of Education, University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Helen has a special commitment to early childhood education.  She feels that K-3 is the most important period in the formal education of a child.  Helen and Tom have a life long commitment to the university.  It was at MSU that they met and fell in love.  Their daughter Susan Van Tiem-Shockley 81' graduated with a BA in Social Science.  Husband Tom graduated from what is now the MSU Law School and later became President of the Law School Alumni Association.

Give Now to Judge Thomas A. and Helen Van Tiem Sr. Early Childhood Scholarship