Forever Helping Students from Her SchoolSeptember 01, 2020
Betty Oliver spent four decades helping students as an elementary school teacher, and even in retirement, she still wants to help them succeed.
The veteran educator taught for 40 years in Virginia Beach City Public Schools, serving all her time at her beloved Woodstock Elementary School.
“I enjoyed teaching. It was a great, great career,” she says.
In 2019, she started the Betty Ciampoli Oliver Scholarship Fund at the Hampton Roads Community Foundation for residents of Hampton Roads who attended Woodstock Elementary School for at least three years, graduate from high school with at least a 2.8 GPA, and will attend a two- or four-year college or university.
Oliver, a Virginia Beach resident who loves to travel, has visited all seven continents. She believes it’s important for students to go to college and explore the world.
Her scholarships will help them to expand their perspectives by attending college.
“They need to see what’s out there. They don’t need to just settle,” she says. “You never stop learning so you keep going. They’ll be happy by pursuing more.”
Oliver grew up in Norfolk’s Roland Park neighborhood and graduated from Granby High School. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in elementary education from Old Dominion University before beginning her teaching career.
While at Woodstock Elementary, Oliver taught math, science and social studies to fourth graders for 26 years and fifth graders for 14 years.
She taught children living with disabilities and special needs, too. Oliver also helped put on plays at the school.
“I was just one of those teachers who put her whole self into it,” she says reflecting on her career. “I felt very privileged to be there. The students and parents, they respected me. So I wanted to give back to the children.”
Although she’s retired and enjoying time spent with friends and her dog, Ollie, Oliver continues to help children by writing books about her continental travels and visiting classes to share the stories with students. She has developed two main characters – penguins – that see the world through her eyes.
By staying connected to schools, Oliver encourages educators who are adjusting to changes in education every year – from curriculum to testing and an increasing workload. She offers this advice:
“Keep your head up high,” she says. “Put your personality into it. Keep your enthusiasm. You can only do what you can do, so you just do what you can. Keep your humor. Persevere, and you’ll be fine. It’s a great profession.”