Daughter Celebrates Late Mother’s Birthday by Adding to Scholarship Fund

An extended family sits in a wooded area posing for a photo.

Holidays and birthdays can be particularly tough for someone who has recently lost a loved one. Angela Dredden’s mother, Ruth, passed away in May 2023. As Angela considered what she would do on February 24, Ruth’s birthday, she decided that she would honor her mother’s life work by promoting something near and dear to her heart. Angela will help grow The George and Ruth Dredden Scholarship Fund her parents created with the Community Foundation to honor her mom on what would have been her 94th birthday.

“I feel like she touched so many people,” Angela said. “It’s really important that we remember her. For as long as I can, I will honor her by helping to grow the scholarship fund and impact students in her name, I feel that it’s very important to do.”

A true Fredericktonian, Ruth Dredden attended West Seventh Street School, Lincoln Elementary School, and Lincoln High School.  She strongly believed that education provided a pathway to opportunity.  She earned several degrees and certifications in education and went on to work as a teacher, a guidance counselor and finally as a pupil personnel worker for Frederick County Public Schools.

Four individuals stand holding a plaque and posing for a photo.

Ruth and George Dredden (center) receive the Wertheimer Award in 2007.

In 2007 Ruth and her husband, George, created The George and Ruth Dredden Scholarship Fund with their Wertheimer Fellow for Excellence in Volunteerism Award. The Dreddens chose to carry on their legacy of service by helping students attend college and achieve their academic goals.

“My parents grew up during Jim Crowe segregation. They understood the importance of education as a means to create opportunity. They really felt that it was their duty to give, to try and raise others up, to model the way for others, that was really important to them,” Angela said.

Angela said that as a teacher and guidance counselor, her mother saw firsthand that many young people could not afford college. Her parents knew their scholarship fund might not be able to fund a complete college education for a student, but they knew every little bit made a difference.

“There are a lot of kids that are being priced out of that opportunity, and mom saw it happening,” Angela said. “She saw kids who were extremely bright that could have handled the academic rigor, but were unable to fund it. It brought my parents joy to know that this scholarship fund was going to change lives.”

In addition to impacting countless young lives in her long career as an educator, Ruth was also a trailblazer.  She was the first Black woman to serve on the Frederick Memorial Hospital board and the first Black woman to serve as chair of the Community Foundation’s board of trustees. A dedicated volunteer in the community, she was recognized with a Wertheimer Award and was inducted into the Maryland Senior Citizens Hall of Fame.

Two women sitting at a table smile for the camera.

Ruth (left) and Angela Dredden

“I feel blessed, grateful and empowered,” Angela said.

A new member of the Community Foundation’s board of trustees, Angela said she feels blessed to have had the parents she had and grateful that upon her mom’s passing, the family has the scholarship fund to continue carrying on their mother’s legacy.

“I feel empowered to continue her work, and this scholarship is one way I can do that,” Angela said. “And following in her footsteps, by serving as a trustee at the Community Foundation, I can continue being a thread in the fabric of this place we call home.”