Leaving a Legacy Through Adventist Education

I had the honor of being the executrix of an estate for one of my mother’s many first cousins. I was also in charge of her health care. I say it was an honor because she was like a sister to my mother who had only brothers, so she was like an aunt to me.


Growing up Merlene was in our home on a very regular basis, helping to raise us up “right” and taking us to Sabbath School and church before my mother became a member. I was not necessarily her favorite, but Merlene placed her trust in me because I helped her to live independently for the last three years she was in her own home.


Merlene was a Vermonter, an educator, an elder in the church, a Sabbath School teacher par excellence, a witness to friends and relatives, and a friend of young people. When it was time for us to consider what would happen to her funds, when all was said and done, I asked her what she wanted. She decided that she wanted the Northern New England Conference to set up an endowment fund for scholarships from the interest. The scholarships were to be given to students attending Atlantic Union College, based solely on need. She insisted: solely on need.


Since 2004, over the last 10 years, the Merlene O. Legare Scholarship Fund has awarded $30,500 to help students attend Atlantic Union College and, since its closure, other Adventist colleges. What a blessing this has been to students and to the world. Praise God it will, by the grace of God, be given to Atlantic Union College students once again.


I want to share with you a few quotes from this year’s worthy student recipients taken from their essays:


“Adventist education is helping prepare me for life by keeping me grounded, and helping me strengthen my faith in God.”


“I would love to continue my path toward my goal of becoming a nurse and using my gifts to glorify Christ.”


“Life is all about service, and I want to learn how to serve individual needs. I want to bring others to the truth.”


“There is a hungering and a thirsting for Christ in the world, and we, as young people, need to be equipped to fulfill it.”


“I believe I will do well in this world with this degree, helping people come closer to Christ as I am spreading His love across the world.”


“The many good friends I have made at Adventist institutions inspire me to serve others.”


I believe Merlene will have fun in eternity as she witnesses the legacy she left. What will your legacy be?



Trudy Wright is the Northern New England Conference superintendent of schools.