Family Establishes Nina and Miriam Barber Scholarship

Nina and Miriam Barber were sisters who graduated from North High School, Nina in the class of 1928 and Miriam in the class of 1929. Raised by their mother in a single-parent home, they were encouraged by their great aunt to go on to college. Both graduated from Middlebury College and became teachers of world languages. 

In January 2022, Nina’s daughter, Sally Cummings, established the Nina and Miriam Barber Scholarship with preference for a North High School female student who has had a solid B grade average and an economic need for financial assistance. The family of Nina and Miriam prefers that an aspiring language teacher is chosen. The student will be selected by the principal and/or guidance counselor.

This generous legacy gift is an example of how a family can honor loved ones of the past and, at the same time, invest in the future of our most precious resource, the students who will be the leaders of tomorrow. 

Learn more about the Barber sisters through these slides provided by the family.

Slide 1: The Barber sisters, Nina (left) and Miriam (right), as toddlers.
Slide 2: Nina's class picture from 1918. An arrow and zoom box highlight Nina. Below, a class picture, perhaps from 1918. An arrow and zoom box highlight Miriam.
Slide 3: A portrait of Nina and Miriam from 1926. Nina is on the left and Miriam is on the right.
Slide 4: A page from Nina's 1928 North High yearbook - an excerpt reads "Who has ever seen Nina without her unruffled, calm poise? We are proud of her; we have reason to be. It is she we think of when we see an A." Below, a page from Miriam's 1929 North High yearbook - an excerpt reads "Another fair Northite is Miriam Barber. She came to North from Sever Street Prep. Miriam's shy, quiet ways, and her winning smile have gained the friendship of all of us. We're sure she uses "Palmolive." Middlebury, Vermont is her future Alma Matter. "
Slide 5: Grandaunt Myrtle Webber, Miriam, and Nina in 1929. Aunt Myrtie was a daughter of Civil War veteran George Watkins Webber. Aunt Myrtie never married, and worked as private secretary to the President of the local Normal School. She herself had not possessed the means to attend college, but it was she, more than anyone else, who inspired - and financially enabled - her grandnieces to attend Middlebury.
Slide 6: Nina while studying at Middlebury. After Middlebury, she taught French in two high schools in Vermont, raised two children and continued to work as a substitute teacher and tutor, and then worked for ten years as a social worker in child and family services for the State of Vermont.
Slide 7: Miriam while teaching French at Northfield School for Girls in MA in the late 1930s. She soon went on to teach at  Cobleskil, NY as well as (after a 17-year hiatus to raise her children) Cooperstown, Springfield/Cherry Valley, and Ithaca High Schools, all in NY.
Slide 8: Photos of Nina and Miriam with their families. Sally, Nina, Allen, and Preston in 1954 or 1955 and Dale, Mim, Faye, and Randy in 1956.
Slide 9: Two photos. Top - A photo of Nina at her 35th Middlebury reunion. Bottom - a photo of Miriam at her 50th Middlebury reunion in 1983.
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