WARREN, NJ — Graduating seniors Hannah Scammell and Kayla Williams were selected as the 2021 recipients of the Watchung Hills Regional Education Association (WHREA) Scholarship for Future Educators. 

WHREA President Greg O’ Reilly presented the awards at Tuesday’s  senior awards ceremony. Since 2007, the WHREA has granted over $25,000 to graduates who pursue careers as educators. The scholarship is funded by members through an annual WHREA event in addition to individual contributions.

“Given the challenges of educating our students throughout the past year, it is more important than ever to support young adults who plan to dedicate themselves towards education and helping to mold the future,” said WHREA President Greg O’Reilly. “We are proud to be able to offer two scholarships this year based on the generosity of our Association members in a difficult year,” O’Reilly added. “The people who make up the Watchung Hills communities are wonderful people who raise children and young adults dedicated towards virtues such as integrity, empathy, and patience,” O’Reilly noted.

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Hannah Scammell, Indiana University

Major: Early Childhood Education and Special Education


Hannah Scammell, like many students, discovered her passion for teaching while working as a babysitter during her middle school years. When Scammell arrived at The Hills, she took full advantage of the district’s Child Development program. This foundational program has been a perfect match for Scammell. “I absolutely adore working with children. I would love to work in an area in which I am able to constantly help children and provide them the tools they need to thrive and succeed,” Scammell stated.


The Child Development program opportunities have helped Scammell thrive as a budding educator, student, citizen, and role model. Scammell is one of the few students who will complete the program’s capstone course this year. “I’ve been able to watch my students grow up right before my eyes and I was able to witness how much impact teachers have on the lives of their students,” Scammell noted. “There is more to teaching than just core curriculum. I have been able to teach students to be morally conscious of each other, respectful of their peers and kind to their friends and teachers,” she added.


Scammell has not only been a standout student in the Child Development program, but she also has been an outstanding student overall earning excellent grades in her classes including some of the most rigorous courses offered at WHRHS.


Scammell’s achievement in the classroom is complemented by her commitment to our school community. Scammell has been a varsity athlete in lacrosse and field hockey since her sophomore year. Scammell also gives back to the sports she loves by volunteering as a youth camp coach where she helps develop and inspire young players. Scammell’s athletic passion, pride, and purpose drive her to share, teach and role model skills and sportsmanship.


Reflecting on that passion, Scammell shared that the leadership skills she learned as an athlete have been critical to helping her develop and evolve as a young educator. “I was able to take on a leadership position on both teams and that helped me to work with others while working on common team goals,” Scammell said. “As a leader in the classroom, I get to help shape students into the best versions of themselves while they learn skills and lessons that will stay with them for life,” Scammel added.


Scammell is delighted to be attending Indiana University as an education major this coming fall. WHRHS has benefited from Scammell’s contributions to the classrooms and the community. “At WHRHS, I have had so many incredible teachers with obvious passions for their jobs,” Scammell said. “From that, I take forward the inspiration that will guide my life as a future teacher.

Kayla Williams, Rowan University

Elementary Education

For Kayla Williams, babysitting for local families during her freshman and sophomore years inspired her to become an educator. Kayla’s love of children and desire to become a teacher, pushed her to find and secure work at a local daycare center. While working in the daycare center, Kayla’s initiative, and ability to effectively work with children earned her increased responsibility. With increased responsibility, Kayla learned many innovative and creative ways of working with and motivating young children.


When looking back at just how busy her life became as a high school student who worked part-time, Williams said, “After school, I’d go straight to work every day and sometimes after work, I have gymnastics practice or dance practice. Eventually, I’d get home to complete my homework for the night.” Williams added, “Time management has always been a huge strength of mine and I’m able to get it all done even with a full schedule.”


Time management is an asset that will always be helpful for Williams as she heads off to Rowan University next year to study Elementary Education. Williams credits her experience at WHRHS as being “critical” in helping her to sharpen and develop not just her managerial skills, but also her ability to work with others for the common good.


The common good has always been important to Williams. According to Williams, early in life she was touched by an experience traveling into New York City as a grade-school student. There, she witnessed how homelessness impacted certain populations. At the time, she really couldn’t grasp all the factors that contributed to homelessness, but Williams does remember the deep feeling of compassion and sensitivity that was growing inside her.


Fast-forward to high school and her compassion and sensitivity towards others have not changed. Williams said, “At Watchung Hills, I joined the B.E.L.I.E.V and Red Cross Clubs with the intention of helping others.” Williams added, “Taking both Child Development and Human Behavior helped me realize how my compassion can best be targeted to help children. And like my job at the day care center, taking those courses helped validate that as a teacher, I can best help others by educating them.”



Williams has been a strong student across the curriculum at WHRHS. The diversity and wide range of courses Williams has completed is a testament to her creative and academic spirit. She enjoys learning and wants to be an educator that helps children discover what they may be passionate about. Williams exclaims, “I want to be the person who makes an impact on children and their young minds. I can picture myself creating lesson plans that are fun and fully functional from an educational standpoint. I’m so excited about my future studies and the field I have chosen to pursue.”

With full enthusiasm, the Watchung Hills Regional Education Association proudly acknowledges both Scammell and Williams as this year’s scholarship recipients.


 O’Reilly stated, “Hannah and Kayla both demonstrate the values teachers need each day, and it is a testament to their character that they will share those values with their future-students in a life in public service. Wherever Hannah and Kayla eventually teach, it is rewarding for the WHREA that we were able to help.”



For more information, contact:

Joseph Toye, Selection Committee Coordinator, 908-647-4800, ext. 4842 (jtoye@whrhs.org)