When a committee of 13 began meeting to plan the 2007 Wesley Chapel Scholarship Fund drive and activities, one major decision had already been made: Miss Cleola Boles
was to be the honoree.
A better choice could not have been made.
Even as a child, Miss Boles
had a healthy respect for the value of education.
She begged her parents to send her to college, and in 1938, after graduating top of her class of 9 from Dunbar High School in Center Point, Arkansas, Cleola Boles came to Philander Smith College.
arrived on a schoolbus with $15.00, a box of meat, and an assortment of canned fruit as part of her
worked in the cafeteria to earn the rest of the money needed to stay in school.
An illness in her
junior year forced Miss Boles
to return to Center Point.
After recuperating, she
teaching license and began to teach first grade.
It was several years before she
could come back to Philander Smith, but she
graduated in 1953, with a major in Education and Home Economics.
taught first grade in the North Little Rock School District
for 38 years.
During that time she also spent 17 years teaching adult education classes and night classes for veterans; and she served at one time as head teacher of the Head Start Program.
Even after retiring, Miss Boles
continued to support education and her
beloved Philander Smith.
Studentsâ€™ anticipation of her
visits may have been largely because of the food she
brought, but they also realized that she
was doing her
part to help them stay in school.
is well-known in the area for her
As the middle child of her
parentsâ€™ 11 children, she
learned to cook at an early age and later taught herself to bake.
cakes, cookies, and pies are especially familiar to those at Wesley Chapel
and throughout the community.
Miss Boles first came to Wesley Chapel when she was a student at Philander Smith.
After graduating and settling in North Little Rock she joined McCabe UMC.
When transportation to Little Rock became available, she returned to Wesley Chapel, where she has been a member ever since.
On September 16 An Evening of Praise was held at the church in honor of Miss Boles
and in support of the scholarship fund by way of a freewill offering.
More than $8,000 had been raised at press time.