SAFFORD — During her life, Brenda Sue Bonefas Hawkins inspired hundreds — if not thousands — of children in the classroom.

Following her sudden passing in June of this year, she continues to inspire youths to achieve their goals and the community to support those youths.

On Wednesday, JD Parker, of Horace Mann Insurance, presented the Safford High School Scholarship Foundation with checks totaling $2,187 in the name of the Brenda Bonefas Hawkins Scholarship.

“She was a great lady,” Parker said. “My company decided to give back and asked me what to donate to. I immediately said, ‘Brenda.’ This is part of our mission; we love our educators, and we want to support our educators.”

SHS Scholarship Foundation board member and Brenda’s father, John Bonefas, accepted the donation.

“On behalf of Susan and the family, thank you. The outpouring of support has been unreal,” he said. “Since June, and with today, people have donated $18,000. And in May of 2020, we will give out the first Brenda Sue Bonefas Hawkins Scholarship in the amount of $1,000, and every May after that.”

Parker said Bonefas Hawkins received a cancer diagnosis in April. She died June 18.

Bonefas Hawkins spent more than 26 years teaching in the Safford Unified School District at the high school and middle school before eventually making her way to Dorothy Stinson School, where she taught the majority of her career.

“When she came here, it’s like where she needed to be. She flourished here,” said Dorothy Stinson School Principal Mike Moreno.

“We were hired by the district in the same year, but she was hired a few weeks before me. I’m sure I was hired because of Brenda. When they asked her who else should they look at, she said, ‘Hire Mike, hire Mike, hire Mike.’

“She touched a lot of people, and I was fortunate to have her here as one of my teachers.”

Anyone wishing to donate to the scholarship may mail a check to SHS Scholarship Foundation, 734 11th St., Safford, AZ 85546, with “Brenda Hawkins” on the memo line; or go to www.shsalumni.org and, using the donate button, contribute via PayPal.

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