Molly Harding (Casanova)
Graduate 2011
University of Notre Dame
2007 Scholarship Recipient

When I was selected as a recipient in the very first group of LAFD Merit Scholars, I was completely honored and knew what a blessing this meant for my future. I had worked to develop into a hardworking student, service oriented leader, and gracious disciple of Christ. To me my next step in my journey was continuing my growth at the university level as I discerned what my vocation would be, I continued to ask myself, How would I use this honor to develop and contribute to the larger community. This scholarship allowed me to attend my dream school, the University of Notre Dame, where I was able to flourish and discern that question.

During my years at Notre Dame I studied Psychology with and additional emphasis in the area of Education, Schooling and Society After graduating, I applied and was accepted at the Partners in Los Angeles Catholic Education (PLACE Corps program.  I taught in a low income Catholic school while also completing my Masters of Education through Loyola Marymount University.  I am  currently finishing my fifth year as the second grade teacher and am also the vice principal of transitional kindergarten though fourth grades.  This is where I am able to use my gifts, which were seen in me by the Merit Scholar Board, in order to flourish, grow and incorporate in my classroom. Each day I enter the classroom and am grateful for the opportunity to be with my students.

The Los Angeles Fire Department and the Merit Scholar program have helped to inspire who I am and how I came here.  In everything I do, I want to continue to be grateful for the individuals who have supported and strengthened me. Growing up in a firefighter family, we learned and shared values that encouraged us to grow as persons of character, embodying trust, love, faith, hard work, gratitude.  These values are part of what I bring to my life everyday.  I value my gifts and surround myself with individuals who strengthen and inspire me.