Crystal Neuhaus Memorial Scholarship


Crystal Lynn Neuhaus was a kindergarten teacher at Riverdale Heights Elementary School who died in 2013 after a courageous battle against leukemia. A three-sport high school athlete at Dubuque Senior High School, Crystal was in the first group of women to earn a full-ride scholarship to the University of Iowa, where she played volleyball for the Hawkeyes from 1978-81. She earned her B.S. degree in Elementary Education in 1983.

Crystal began her career as an educator in 1984 and taught for nine years prior to starting her own family. At that time she took a sabbatical from teaching and went into childcare, which allowed her to be with her own children, Brock and Kara, during most of their formative years. Her family was very important to her. She joined the Pleasant Valley School District in 2002 and taught kindergarten for the final 10 years of her career. Crystal was a very positive, genuine, caring, nurturing, and humble person who always had a smile on her face.

 A sports enthusiast, she was an active supporter of Pleasant Valley Athletics. Having been a high school volleyball coach for seven years, Crystal volunteered at high school volleyball camps as well as for Pleasant Valley youth girls’ basketball and softball teams. When it came to athletics Crystal was an intense competitor with a tremendous work ethic. She possessed a “will to win”, and competed with great passion and effort at practice and in games. She made everyone around her better because of how she approached the game. At the same time she was respectful to her opponent and supportive of her teammates. Her work ethic, loyalty, and desire to achieve were outstanding.

Some of these same character traits were also evident in Crystal’s teaching, although it was her kind and caring approach that endeared her to so many. A tree was planted in her memory just outside her classroom at Riverdale Heights Elementary. The stone that lies beneath the tree is inscribed with a message for all: “Live Compassionately, Give Freely, and Care Deeply”.

The Crystal Neuhaus Memorial Scholarship was established in 2014 and is awarded to a graduating senior from Pleasant Valley High School who has played the same sport all four years of high school while displaying a strong work ethic on and off the field. This scholarship was developed to support a Pleasant Valley student-athlete who plans on continuing his/her education at a two or four-year school with the plan to eventually earn a four-year college degree. 

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