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Leffel First to Receive Scholarship Honoring Alumnus

Cayia Edited 400x400
Cayia Leffel

Cayia Leffel is the first student to receive the Timothy Stephen Gideon Education Scholarship for students transferring from a community college and majoring in Education at TCU. She’s the first of many to receive the award, thanks to a generous endowment honoring an alumnus’ legacy.

Timothy Gideon, the namesake for the scholarship, grew up in Fort Worth ISD schools, earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at TCU’s College of Education, and taught at E. Ray Elementary and Forest Hill Elementary before he died of a sudden illness at 25. He had just received the Ross Perot Foundation Outstanding Teacher of the Year award for 1977-78.

Gideon was a member of Southcliff Baptist Church, Fort Worth Classroom Teachers Association, Texas State Teachers Association and the National Educators Association.

In his speech for the Outstanding Teacher of the Year award Timothy said, “I want my students to learn, and [I] use many motivational techniques. I try to be a good teacher, much like the ones I had as a student.”

Photo Gideon Class
Mr. Gideon with his class

Bobbye L. Karkalits raised Timothy as a single mother. She had no other children and they had few living relatives. After Timothy’s death, Karkalits revised her will to gift her estate to TCU after she passed. She wasn’t rich, but she was frugal and owned several small businesses. Her entire estate went to TCU to use the funds where they were most needed.

“We created the scholarship for Early Childhood Education majors to honor Timothy’s legacy and to attract educators in the midst of a national shortage,” Dean Mary M. Patton said. “This scholarship provides the opportunity to an outstanding student to transfer to TCU – for many this would not be possible without this scholarship.”

Scholarship recipient Cayia Leffel said “TCU had always been a dream school. When I stepped on campus I knew that’s where I needed to be and had to make it work.” She said she’s so grateful to receive the award.

Leffel transferred from Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, and just started her second semester at TCU. She works at the Transfer Admissions Center and teaches dance to elementary school children.

“Give it a chance, get out of your comfort zone, and be accepting of everything that TCU has to offer,” Leffel said.

Her passion for teaching children and giving back to the community fits well with the legacy Gideon and his mother left, one that will continue on. The scholarship will go to an incoming junior each year, providing four consecutive semesters of aid to high-performing, high-need transfer students.