The Richardson Scholarships

Alice C. Richardson Scholarship

Alice C. Richardson (Forrest) was born in 1930 in Mt. Kisco, New York. She graduated from Horace Greely High School, Chappaqua, New York, in 1947 and New York University College of Education in 1951. During her college years she was employed as a part-time proofreader for Silver Burnett Publishing Company in New York City.

After graduating at age 21, Alice relocated to Tampa, Florida where she was employed as a music specialist at Seminole Elementary School. She went on to teach Music Education for forty years until her retirement from Alexander Elementary in 2003 at age seventy-three.

In 1954 Alice was matriculated in New York University's summer program for a master's degree in guidance when she met and married Jack Richardson, a sergeant in the United States Air Force stationed at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.

She then followed her husband to Tokyo, Japan, where she was employed as director of a pre-K and kindergarten school that serviced American and Japanese children. It was during this time that Alice and Jack lost their first child, a son. After three years in Japan they were relocated to Tampa, where Alice began teaching at the recently built Forrest Hills Elementary School.

In 1960 their first daughter, Cathy Lynne, was born and three years later both were shocked to find she was autistic. It then became a long journey of reading books, taking courses, and bonding with others in similar situations to determine what could be done for their child. They were to find relatively little existed for special needs children.

In 1962 Alice and Jack's second daughter Laurie Ann was born. Both recognized at an early age that Laurie exhibited characteristics that indicated she was as special in her way as Cathy was in hers, especially the love and compassion she continuously exhibited toward her disabled sister. Even though Alice had lost a son and had a severely disabled daughter, Laurie made everything right until that morning when Laurie lost her life in a tragic traffic accident, just as she was graduating with honors from the University of South Florida with a degree in Special Education.

For Alice, it was the consideration and compassion of her students who helped her through those days and increased her awareness and feeling for those who have difficulty in learning. Alice and Jack have always felt fortunate to be able to fund scholarships in the Exceptional Student Education program with the mission to find teachers who have the love, patience, and skills to work with children with special needs.