02/01/12 — Scholarship recipients say thank you at Wayne Community College event

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Scholarship recipients say thank you at Wayne Community College event

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on February 1, 2012 1:46 PM

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Majesty York, left, smiles as she shakes Sandy Korschun's hand Tuesday evening during The Foundation of Wayne Community College's scholarship presentation. Ms. York was one of nine recipients of a Korschun Family Scholarship. The ceremony was an opportunity for the donors of 350 scholarships to meet the student recipients.

The strains of "Pomp and Circumstance" filled Moffatt Auditorium at Wayne Community College Tuesday evening, but for a different kind of commencement.

Students crossing the stage were acknowledging their being able to continue their education thanks to scholarships made possible by local benefactors through the Wayne Community College Foundation.

The annual scholarship presentation provided an opportunity for donors and recipients to meet. This year, the foundation reported 350 scholarships funded for 240 students, worth $225,765.

"I have received it every year I have been here," said third-year student Candace Jones, enrolled in the college transfer program. "Without the scholarship I would not be able to be in school at all."

Ms. Jones, who is considering a future major in psychology, ultimately aspires to return to WCC, she said. As part of her work study, she has worked with Jack Kannan, executive director of the foundation, so she has witnessed firsthand the process of securing scholarships and funds for students.

"I want Mr. Kannan's job, but I will work anywhere," she said, smiling. "I just would love to be able to give back the way people have helped me and give people that opportunity that I was given."

Pamla Oliver, a mother of four, plans to graduate from the nursing program in May.

Before she did that she had to earn her high school diploma, starting at WCC in 2003.

"I was having some financial difficulties and I applied to the foundation. This is my second year for getting the Bryan Scholarship," she said. "If it hadn't been for them, I wouldn't have been able to continue in the program because I was having a hardship, trying to raise kids. (The scholarship) was like a cushion, helping me. I really appreciate it."

Stories like that were prevalent around the room.

John Peacock, the chairman of the foundation's board, emphasized the importance of scholarship donors.

"For those on the stage, it's an opportunity to give back to the education, the workforce, and allow (students) to have their dreams come true," he said. "Students get a chance to meet those who have thrown out a lifeline to help them get ahead."

More students than ever vied for funding this year to pursue an education, he said, and the $225,765 in scholarships for the fall and spring semesters made a big difference.

"They have been made possible by this community," he said. "If that's not economic development, I don't know what is."

Dr. Kay Albertson, college president, credited the financial supporters with assisting the college fulfill its mission.

"Donors, we are providing the education and the training, but you are providing the inspiration," she said.

Two students spoke during the ceremony.

Robin Capps worked in the manufacturing industry for more than 25 years before losing his job last year. Unable to find another one, he returned to school and is currently majoring in heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration.

"Since I started back I have met others my age, some like me wanting a career change, others laid off from G.E. or other companies and seeking new employment opportunities," he said. "I have met younger students who have been in the workforce four or five years and have realized that without some college training they will not be able to achieve their goals. ... Making ends meet is very trying, so any aid, money for tuition, tools, or just for books is greatly appreciated."

Alma Islas, pursuing her associate in arts degree, said she was blessed with a family that could put her through the first year at the college. Beyond that, she said she relied on the determination her father had instilled in her.

"That is when I found the foundation scholarship information and I knew that this would be a great opportunity for me to get financial help. Thank God, I was one of the chosen students that received a scholarship."

Teachers also praised the advantage of having generous individuals and businesses that recognize the need for giving deserving students a boost.

Paul Compton, department head and instructor of industrial technologies, said he has worked to help students in his program get the money they need to remain in school.

"If I have got a student, he's been in school and can't come back for the next year and he might have to wait a whole year, he'll get behind," Compton said. "I think with tuition costs going up and students going into the technical fields, right now they're not making a lot of money, so this gives them the opportunity to have some money for tuition or books, or a combination of both."