Elva “Elle” Heiligenstein of Bellevillle, IL was awarded the Selected Independent Funeral Homes’ Educational Trust’s Second-Career Scholarship on January 12, 2015. $1,500 was paid toward her funeral service education.
Heiligenstein has been chosen by the Trust as the first of five Donald W. Tetrick Second Career Scholarship Award recipients to be awarded over the next two and a half years. Heiligenstein attends Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Ill., where she is expected to graduate in May, 2016. After spending 17 years in the cosmetology industry, she was called to funeral service following the death of her grandparents and after successfully counseling numerous clients through their grief experiences. She wrote an article that appeared in The Director magazine in April, 2014 for those who may be contemplating making a career change into funeral service and to explain her own calling to the profession.
“Being chosen for this scholarship not only validates my hard work and determination to become a funeral director later in my life, but more importantly, I believe that this scholarship speaks to those who have been discouraged by the feeling that they are too old to return to college, are somehow not as deserving as someone with a familial legacy or those who have been discouraged by the simple fear of the unknown,” Heiligenstein said. “I am living proof that regardless of the challenges that life may give you, if you feel the call to this noble profession, you will find a way to answer it, and you will answer it well!”