Thursday was a day of gratitude both on behalf of State Fair Community College and many of the students who attend the college.
The college hosted its annual Donor and Scholar Luncheon on Thursday to express thanks to those individuals and organizations who have given financial donations to make it possible for students to attend SFCC.
“I know I say this every year at this event, but the words ‘thank you,’ don’t emphasize enough the impact and importance of the donations that you have given that that have made a difference in the lives of these students,” Mary Treuner, SFCC Foundation Executive Director, said. “In today’s economy because of your generosity you are helping to make it possible for others to succeed and we are very grateful to you for that.”
Treuner announced that in Fiscal Year 2016 the college granted $203,465 in endowed scholarships.
For Fiscal Year 2017, which begins July 1, the amount of endowed scholarships has risen to $242,917.
“The college will be able to offer eight new scholarships for the first time in 2017,” Treuner said. “The total dollar amount and the number that we are able to award is significant.”
For many of the donors, the luncheon offered the opportunity to meet the recipients of their scholarships for the first time and hear the stories of their educational goals.
Many in attendance were moved to tears after hearing the stories of two recipients during the luncheon.
Mary Wright was the recipient of the TRIO Book Scholarship, which was funded by Todd Gerlt and US Bank.
Wright, who spoke at last year’s luncheon, told the guests Thursday she had volunteered to speak once again because her dreams were becoming a reality.
“I want to let you all know that my college career was possible because of the generosity of the foundation and all the donors that give to students and help them achieve their goals,” Wright said. “You all give us opportunities to meet our goals and move on to new goals in the future.”
Wright said that in 2012, she had set a goal for herself to graduate when she was studying for her GED.
“There was a wonderful lady named Priscilla Climes who believed in me even when I didn’t, that I would succeed,” Wright said. “I thought that was my end goal and I had reached the finish line when I received my GED.
“Thank goodness there was another strong lady who told me I should go to college,” Wright added. “The thought terrified me, but this young lady was my daughter Amanda.
“She believed in me and knew it was something that I always dreamed of,” Wright added. “Amanda and I started college together in 2013 and I will graduate this spring with my AA in social work.”
The path that Elizabeth Hoose, the recipient of the Western Missouri Medical Center Scholarship, has taken is somewhat different from that of Wright but also centers on her children and a desire to care for them and others.
Hoose will graduate in May 2017 with her associate in nursing degree.
She began her nursing career in 2001 when she became a certified nurse assistant in Colorado while her husband was in the military.
Twelve years later, in September 2013, Hoose found herself living in North Dakota, the mother of three small children who had decided to delay her dream of becoming a RN.
“When I found out I was expecting twins and we already had a 2-year-old child at home I decided to delay my dream and then in September of 2013, my husband suffered a traumatic brain injury,” Hoose said. “He was in a coma for 30 days and as I paced the floor, I wondered what I would do without the love of my life and how was I going to be able to provide for my three precious children.
“There were many times throughout his recovery that both the doctors and I wondered if he would make it,” she added. “It was the nurses that never lost hope.”
Hoose said her husband, by the grace of God, beat all sciences and today is a walking, talking miracle.
“The experience further confirmed my goal of becoming a registered nurse,” Hoose said tearfully. “In January of 2015, I became a student at State Fair Community College and started in the nursing program in August 2015.”
Hoose said she chose SFCC because of the high standards the college had and the fact SFCC graduates are very successful on the scores they receive on their national licensing exams.
“My oldest child is now 8 and the twins are 6 and I am currently a single parent, but because of this scholarship, I have been able to afford my schooling, keep a roof over our head and groceries in the cupboard,” Hoose said. “I am not sure that I would be able to work and continue to meet the demands at home and school if not for the financial ability this scholarship has provided me to focus on my academic success.”
According to SFCC President Dr. Joanna Anderson, the academic success of the college’s students has and continues to be their No. 1 priority.
“I know the stories were heard are just two of the hundreds that are imparted by students who have been impacted by your generosity,” Anderson said. “Please know that because of your generosity you have invested in the college and our students and we are very grateful.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484