Pearl Christenson was the child of Norwegian immigrants and lived the American dream of opportunity. Together with her husband Jerry, she raised a family of six children with the fundamental belief that access to education is the key to success for all who call America home, including immigrants.
Pearl was an early and consistent supporter of Power of YOU, a program which covers the cost of attending Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) or St. Paul College for two years for Minneapolis, St. Paul, and inner suburban high school graduates. She also understood the critical challenges facing our new immigrants, knowing that 24% of students now in Minneapolis public schools are immigrants and refugees. She was amazed to learn that 60% of the 2015 nursing graduates from MCTC were born outside the U.S. Additionally, she cared deeply for students who have come to the U.S. as children but have “undocumented” status, which poses great barriers to pursuing college and the American dream. She was fascinated with MCTC’s effort to provide special scholarships for these undocumented DREAMers.
This year, MCTC is piloting scholarship support for a special cohort of seventeen Power of YOU students who are otherwise ineligible for governmental aid because of their undocumented status. The Christenson family can think of no greater way to honor Pearl and her life of commitment to education and opportunity. You can learn how to contribute your support to the Pearl Christenson DREAM Memorial Fund by clicking https://give.minneapolis.edu. All of us who love Pearl thank you.
See Pearl’s obituary here. She passed away in October, 2015.