RUTH ANNE ST. JOHN SCHOLARSHIP
Ruth Anne St. John, as reflected in her 25-year career as a social worker and in her extraordinary family life, Ruth Anne St. John was driven by a love of children and a desire to help them. The Ruth Anne St. John Scholarship Fund, sponsored by the Florida Association of School Social Workers, offers financial support to MSW graduate students interested in the field of school social work. It seeks to assist and encourage these students to further their education and to risk a way of life that demonstrates the true meaning and power of our noble profession.
A BRIEF BIOGRAPHY
Ruth Anne St. John was born in Thief River Falls, MN and received a bachelor’s degree from Concordia College, Moorehead, MN and a Masters in Social Work at the University of Minnesota. She moved with her family to Florida in 1971 and worked for Family Counseling Services of Pinellas County beginning in 1974 and was a social worker for the Pinellas County Schools from 1979 to 1988. She was promoted to supervisor of school social workers in 1988, a post she held until the time of her death in 1992. She was a member of Delta Kappa Gamma honorary educational society; the National Education Association; The National Association of Social Workers and the Florida Association of School Social Workers, where she worked tirelessly to further the profession in Florida. The Pinellas County School Social Workers’ Association in 1985 honored her as their Educator of the Year. She was a member of First Presbyterian Church and is survived by her 7 children and her sister.
SOME PERSONAL THOUGHTS
(Robert St. John, Ruth Anne’s husband, speaks at 2001 State Conference)
I got to know Ruth Anne during a breakfast at the 1988 FASSW state conference. At the time, she was a seasoned FASSW leader and I was just in my second full year in school social work. Since I was interested in legislative issues, and she was the FASSW legislative committee co-chair, we had common interests and love for our chosen profession. Needless to say, we hit it right off and continued our friendship over the phone and at state conferences. I was greatly saddened by her untimely death in 1992. She was a wonderful and kind lady whom I admired greatly for her wise professional skills and devotion to the school social work field in Florida.
I was a member of the FASSW Board in 1993 when we voted to name our scholarship in her honor. Since serving as 1994 State President, I have carried on as the Association’s legislative chairperson trying to further the school social work profession’s role within the education field. I think Ruth Anne looks out for us from Heaven and smiles approvingly, from time to time, about our persistent efforts. It was also another privilege to have met and chatted with her wonderful husband, Robert St. John, who impressed everyone present by showing a lot of courage in traveling to our 2001 State Conference even though he was gravely ill. He died a few short months later. He was able to personally present the award to that year’s scholarship winner.
St. John Family in 1971
Their children have been in touch with FASSW over the past year and hope to be a vital part of FASSW’s recognition of their beloved mother. We welcome their efforts to maintain this scholarship, for it will help future school social workers continue Ruth Anne St. John’s remarkable legacy.
Sandy San Miguel, MSW, SSWS
Concordia College Class Poem,