Hayfork resident returns to college to help children
For Immediate Release
REDDING, Calif. - A heart for underprivileged children motivated Trinity County resident Carol Scherf to return to college in her mid-60s to complete her bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership.
Scherf, 65, watches three children two days a week while their mom teaches. She and her husband, Tom, have raised four children of their own and assisted 17 other children during their five decades together. They have been 4-H leaders for 41 years and very involved in county, state and national committees for the development of youth programs.
“I want to be a voice for these kids with no voice of their own,” Scherf said. “These children go through hell, and they’re amazing and will give so much to our world.”
Scherf, affectionately called “Grandma” by her classmates, was one of 162 students who graduated Jan. 12 from Simpson University in Redding. The university holds commencement ceremonies in January and April. Scherf and 100 others earned degrees from the School of Continuing Studies (ASPIRE program).
The Scherfs moved to Hayfork nine years ago. They run a cattle and sheep ranch for Mike and Polly Sumner and work three vineyards. Scherf does bookkeeping for the business.
Two friends who earned their degrees through Simpson’s ASPIRE program recommended it to Scherf, who had “returning to college” on her bucket list, along with traveling and writing children’s books.
“One friend kept saying you’ll never find people as concerned about your mental and spiritual being as you do at Simpson,” Scherf said. “I found that to be the case.”
For 16 months, Scherf drove the winding roads to Redding to spend eight hours in class on Saturdays. In snowy weather, Tom went with her, and they would stay overnight. What seemed a daunting timeframe at the start ended up flying by, she said.
“Every teacher told us you don’t think it will ever end, but it will pass by so quickly you’ll be amazed,” she said. “It’s true.”
Scherf already had a two-year degree in horticulture and another in accounting. When she first saw her ASPIRE classmates, who ranged in age from 18 to early 40s, she thought how much they had to learn about life.
But they surprised her. “These are amazing, talented people,” she said. “These kids gave me so much more than you could ever imagine.”
Scherf appreciated the closeness of class members, who encouraged and supported each other in their studies and life events. “That was probably the thing I’ll treasure most,” she said. “The sharing with teachers and the cohort.”
She also gained increased self-confidence and motivation to reach her goals.
“I have no hesitation now,” she said. “I’m already writing some kids’ books. You feel like you can conquer the world.”
Simpson University is a Christian university offering undergraduate, graduate and teaching credential programs. Simpson's academic programs include ASPIRE, a degree-completion program geared toward working adults in the north state. Simpson's recent curriculum expansion includes degrees in biology, nursing, outdoor leadership, and a master's degree in counseling psychology. For more information about the university, or to arrange a personalized visit, call 1-888-9-SIMPSON or visit simpsonu.edu.
Contact: SU Public Relations