The Ethel Gerber Memorial Scholarship Fund

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The Ethel Gerber scholarship was originally established by a gift from the Ethel Gerber estate to Morton CUSD 709 in April of 1998. However after several years of managing the scholarship, the District felt it best to place the scholarship at the MCF where it could be better managed along with our many other scholarships. The funds of the Ethel Gerber scholarship were moved to the MCF in August of 2014 by Morton CUSD 709. The established purpose of the fund is to provide annual scholarships to MHS Seniors pursuing a career in education. Priority is given to students who have a particular financial need.

Ethel Gerber, Faculty, 1964 Chillicothe High School yearbook photo

Ethel Gerber, Faculty, 1964 Chillicothe High School yearbook photo

Miss Ethel Gerber was born in Cissna Park, IL in 1903.  Details are sketchy, for her early years, but her family moved to Morton in 1922, when Ethel was 20 yrs old.  She never married, but immersed herself in college studies over a number of years.  She had a BA. in Education from Illinois State University, Normal, and also did coursework at the University of Chicago, and the National University of Mexico, where she apparently studied Spanish.  She was a member of Delta Kappa Gamma.  This was in the 1920’s when it was not nearly as common as today for women to attend college.

Ethel taught Spanish and “Commercial”, also sometimes called Business Math, at Chillicothe High School for 25 years.  She was the Spanish Club Advisor, Junior Class Advisor, and was Advisor for the Future Teachers of America Club.  A quote in the 1946 Chillicothe High yearbook stated, “Miss Gerber cops honors among the faculty for athletic participation, being adept in ice skating, swimming, bowling, and horseback-riding.”  In May of 1951, her brother Walter Gerber, purchased Frintz Jewelry store in downtown Morton.  Ethel helped out her brother at Gerber’s Jewelry store while continuing to teach.  After her retirement in 1964, Miss Gerber worked at the YMCA office in Peoria, and also was a member of the Peoria Retired Teachers Association and the Morton Women’s Club.

She left her estate to brothers and sisters and upon their death to her church.  The church was to have the income of the remaining property for 10 years at which point any remaining corpus was to be given to Morton School District for scholarships.  Morton School District received notice of being a beneficiary in April of 1975 and the final distribution of her estate was deposited in their accounts in April of 1998.  Eventually the scholarship fund was transferred to the Morton Community Foundation to be managed and invested by them in August of 2014.  Scholarships have been given out since 2001.

Qualifications for this Scholarship:

  • Financial need is the primary consideration in the selection process.

  • Special consideration will be given for a student planning to pursue a career in education.

  • Each applicant shall complete an essay to be reviewed by the Committee. It is the Donor’s intent that the essay addresses the following:

    • 1) Describe the world you come from - for example, your family, community, church.

    • 2) Tell how your world has shaped your goals for the future.

    • 3) How has your financial situation impacted your goals?

  • Contact the MHS Counseling office for information on this and other MHS scholarships.

If you would like to make a tax deductible donation to this endowment fund, please click the button below for online donations.  Be sure to designate the Ethel Gerber Memorial Scholarship.  Or, you can mail a check to 105 E. Jefferson Street, Morton, IL 61550.