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Latest News: College News

Over 1.5 Million Dollars Awarded to WCC Scholars

Thursday, October 22, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: John Fellas
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by Amanda Gordon, Viking News

"Remember, what you have been given. To give so others have a chance.” These words are what drives Westchester’s scholarship program. It’s all about taking into account what one has and giving back so others can succeed.

On October 15, The Westchester Community College Foundation served its annual recognition ceremony, paying notice and tribute to WCC’s students, and the donors who made it possible for the students to chase their dreams.

The Westchester Community College Foundation was able to raise 1.5 Million dollars for this semester. The foundation provides the means for students of all backgrounds to attend the campus such as single parents who wish to provide a better life for themselves as well as their children, individuals from foreign countries and students who come from low income situations.

The Westchester Community College Foundation was founded in 1969 by a group of community members.

They began to raise funds for student scholarships going beyond what the state, county and federal government provides.

In 2007, Jack Stadler, board member and trustee made it the Foundation’s mission to raise 1 Million dollars for scholarships each year.

This year alone, the foundation will be awarding 1.6 Million dollars to WCC students which are given to incoming students, students who are continuing their education at WCC and for graduating students who may wish to transfer, and as high as that number is, the 55 board members are setting their sights on 2 Million dollar goal from now on, and project to meet that goal by 2018.

The WCC Foundation gave a moment of silence, in remembrance of Barbara (Bunny) Marks, a former board member who passed away last February.

For 25 years, Marks was committed to the college, and in that span of time she founded the Alumni Association, helped to produce the first alumni directory, and helped 17 students through the establishment of the Barbara K. Marks Scholarship.

She leaves behind her family who asked in lieu of flowers for her passing, for donations towards the WCC Foundation, leaving note to the scholarship recipients ‘Mom would have been proud.’

The Foundation remembers Marks fondly, and cherishes the opportunity to have worked with such an inspiring individual.

Alumni speaker, Dwayne O. Kelly, a 2006 Liberal Art graduate, received his MBA from Fordham University and is now serving as an Academic Advisor for NYU’s Opportunity Program, helping economically disadvantaged students to achieve their dreams, displaying the WCC Foundation mission statement.

When he received the invitation to the Ceremony, it made him reflect on what makes Westchester Community College so great.

"Opportunities,” says kelly. "Opportunities is what makes WCC so extraordinary.”  

He recalled of the tremendous pressure he felt while attending WCC, becoming the first person in his family to commit to higher education, how the facility members went the extra mile and how he challenged himself in his time here.

He left off with a message to the Scholarship winners,

"To my fellow dreamers, take every opportunity offered here,”  he says.

The final speech was cut short, due to the campus wide black out, but student speaker, Kimani Muthra’s words were clear.

"Like every student, I show my gratitude,” says Muthra

Murtha  is projected to graduate with his Associates in Cyber Security in spring of 2016. He bided the room a goodnight just after the lights were cut out.

The ceremony turned to an interactive exercise to award the medals to each of the scholarship recipients, where in the past, it was treated more like a graduation, students names called out and they walk across the stage, but this new take is far more intimate.

At each table, there was a donor or host along with the students and in the center of the table sat a bag, full of medals. The students were asked to rise and turn to the table host as they had the medal placed upon them.

For those who did not attend, it was a sight to see, the gratitude upon the students faces when they received their medal, the immense joy seen in the eyes of the donors, there is nothing for myself to compare the scene to.

Upon each medal reads the motto of "Remember, what you have been given. To give so others have a chance.”  After receiving said medal, the entire room began to mingle, congratulations and praises spread, and selfies galore.

"I’m happy, I feel honored to get it. It gives me hope and it makes want to work harder because I see that there is someone else who cares,” says  Shatha Tamimi, a Liberal Arts; Math and Science Major. Tamimi was born in Palestine, but grew up in the states. She was given the Lanza Family Personal Achievement Scholarship and hopes to go to Fordham University following her graduation from WCC, in pursuit of becoming a dentist.

On the other side of this coin, stands the donors, and those who made it possible for students to continue their education.

When interviewing Ilene Lieberman of the Westchester Community College Foundation, she gave a glimpse into what a tremendous part the donors play.

"They are changing lives. The donors we receive are interested in our student’s success, and wish to hear their stories,” she says

For any student who wishes to apply for a scholarship, the next deadline is March 1st for the Fall 2016 semester. You can apply either in person in the scholarship office, located on the second floor in the library or online at the WCC website, underneath the Student Services section labeled Scholarships.

Lieberman states that these scholarships are similar to the lottery, "You have to be in it, to win it.”

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