Best-Selling Author, Tara Westover Shares the Story of Her Unconventional Education at Annual Fundraiser for Educational First Steps

By Michelle Connell, CFA | 4 min read

On January 28, more than 300 supporters of Educational First Steps gathered at One Childhood, One Chance: An Evening with Tara Westover. Funds raised from the annual Dallas event help to support EFS’ efforts to elevate the quality of early childhood education across North Texas. Specifically, funds will help support professional development opportunities for teachers, curriculum enhancement and culture enrichment for the children served by EFS Partner Centers across North Texas.

It was our privilege to join this important event as a corporate sponsor, alongside others including The Dallas Morning News, American Airlines, Bank of Texas and others.

The fundraising event featured New York Times best-selling author, Tara Westover and was moderated by Krys Boyd, radio host of the award-winning show, THINK, on KERA. Westover’s autobiography, Educated: A Memoir, sparked national conversation upon its release in 2018. Called “a heartbreaking, heartwarming, best-in-years memoir” by USA Today, the book chronicles Westover’s unconventional educational journey after overcoming a difficult upbringing.

Born to survivalist parents in rural Idaho, Westover was a 17-year-old before she ever set foot in a formal classroom setting. It was her desire to be a musician that drove her to self-study the basics in order to pass the ACT and gain entry into a university. She was accepted into Brigham Young University, where she received encouragement and direction from her professors on how to obtain financial support in order to continue her education. Westover was awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. After receiving her BA from BYU in 2008, Westover earned an MPhil from Trinity College, Cambridge in 2009, and in 2010 was a visiting fellow at Harvard University. She returned to Cambridge, where she was awarded a PhD in history in 2014. 

While in Dallas, Westover toured Hamilton Park Learning Center, one of Educational First Steps’ more than 100 Partner Centers in North Texas. Dallas’ CBS 11 featured Westover in an interview during her visit. Watch the video below.

“What Tara’s story really does reflect is that there aren’t any bad experiences and that everything in our life really is a learning experience that we get to take away and share for others to learn and grow from,” Vickie Allen, Executive Director of Educational First Steps told CBS 11.

There are many Taras in this world and in our own local community. Educational First Steps provides training to early childhood educators so they are equipped to educate and encourage the next generation to achieve their dreams.

About the Author
Michelle Connell, CFA is the President and Owner of Portia Capital Management, LLC and one of the highest-rated finance professors in the United States, currently serving as an adjunct professor at The University of Texas. Ms. Connell works with her students and private clients to understand the value of crafting a portfolio that includes conventional products as well as alternative assets, including private equity, private debt and real estate, and allows investment portfolio creation with greater downside protection and more consistent returns. 

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