Eloise and Carlton Blanton love to share memories – with many details and specifics –of the principals and school leaders that mentored them throughout their two extraordinary careers as educators. She recalls Joe Bethel, principal at Loma Vista, who told her to “speak up!” She speaks lovingly of Carrie Haynes, then in the LAUSD (Los Angeles Unified School District) regional office, who encouraged her to pursue a principalship. Carlton remembers his basketball coach at Cal State Los Angeles, Saxson C. Elliott, who later became a department chair and gave Carlton his first teaching job at Cal State LA.
In many ways, those memories led them to give a gift which will prepare a new generation of school leaders to be just as impactful.
The Dr. Carlton and Eloise Blanton Endowed Scholarship at USC Rossier School of Education will specifically support students who aspire to be school principals. The Blanton’s generous gift of $160,000 to USC Rossier will support the studies of students who, as the Blantons put it, “have resiliency, bounce back from adversity, are good listeners, and are highly motivated.” The Blantons care deeply about supporting those students who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford a USC education. “We have always wanted to do this,” they say.
Because for these two – who refer to one another as “my best friend” – their lives together and as educators were greatly shaped by USC. Eloise Blanton is a hometown girl, whose father owned property in USC’s neighborhood. Carlton is Texas born and raised, and for the key high school years, he pretty much raised himself. He moved with his parents to Southern California in 9th grade but, not feeling challenged in his new school, convinced them he could go back to Texas alone. From the age of 14, he lived on his own in the house they had left behind and went to school, graduating #2 in his high school class at age 16.