A college education is a powerful key to career opportunities. But millions of students are locked out of institutions of higher learning in the United States because they can’t afford the rapidly rising costs of tuition, fees, books and student housing.
Fortunately for them, some financially needy students receive one or more scholarships. These monetary awards help open classroom doors and enable the students to pursue their educational and career goals.
During the 2016-2017 academic year, the Wenatchee Valley College Foundation awarded students enrolled at the institution 95 scholarships, ranging in value from $500 to $5000. While working hard to satisfy rigorous academic standards, most of these students also juggle the demands of part-time employment. In addition, many are raising children and/or helping extended family members.
Here are a few of their inspirational stories!
“Receiving a scholarship is a huge opportunity for me, really the one I never thought I would ever have,” said Saray. Thanks to a financial award from the Weinstein Beverage Opportunity Scholarship earlier this year, Saray is taking courses at WVC toward an Associate of Technical Science degree. She hopes to graduate in the winter or spring of 2018 and find employment as an administrative office assistant, possibly at a public utility district.
Thinking further out, “I do want to continue my education and get a bachelor’s degree,” she said.
Saray was born in Mexico. A Wenatchee resident for the past 10 years, she graduated from high school here in 2011.
“I am in a place I thought I would not be in when I was in high school,” she related. “I thought I was different and did not belong here. I also thought I did not have a chance to work in a better-than-minimum-wage job.
“Now I realize that I was very wrong, and I am truly very thankful to receive this scholarship. It’s a huge help in the process of continuing my education.”
A financial award this year from the Ludwick Family Health Sciences Scholarship fund is supporting Jessica's academic work toward becoming a nurse.
In her thank-you letter to Ms. Peggy Ludwick, Jessica wrote: “Your kindness and dedication to helping me has great impact not only financially, but also emotionally. As I begin this journey, your award letter is the first thing in black and white that has told me ‘We believe in you.’ It is because of your thoughtfulness and generosity that I am able to concentrate on my education without increased financial worries. It will make a huge impact!”
Jessica first enrolled at WVC in 2001. However, due to health issues, she had to interrupt her studies for several years. Currently she is in the first year of the nursing program.
Crystal is working toward an associate’s degree in the Medical Laboratory Technician program. Eventually, she aspires to earn a four-year degree.
A 2002 graduate of Chelan High School, Crystal explained, “Receiving the Ludwick Family Health Sciences Scholarship has meant so much to me. Returning to school as an adult can be challenging, both academically and financially. Trying to find a balance can sometimes be very stressful. Before applying to the Medical Laboratory Technology program, I was prepared for the rigorous academic schedule, but was also concerned about how I was going to pay for the program. Receiving the scholarship means I can worry less about the financial aspect of pursuing my goals and focus my attention on succeeding academically.
“Not only has this scholarship relieved some of the stress associated with being a student, but it has also given me an incredible amount of confidence. Growing up, I was not the best student. I had very little motivation. I was that kid who skated by with C’s and D’s. After returning to school in 2014, I wanted to prove to myself that I could be a good student and decided to work as hard as I possibly could to do well at WVC. When applying for the Ludwick Family Health Sciences Scholarship, I never thought that I would actually receive it. I still had it in my mind that I wasn’t qualified for such an award. Being selected as a recipient for the Ludwick Family Health Sciences Scholarship has shown me that with hard work and determination I can accomplish any goal that I set my mind to. I am beyond grateful for receiving this scholarship and I cannot express my gratitude enough to the Ludwick Family for helping me in achieving my goals.”
After completing the technology program, Crystal hopes to find employment in the Chelan or Wenatchee areas.
A recipient of a Weinstein Beverage Opportunity scholarship, Yeira sai, “This scholarship means a lot to me because it helps me a lot with reaching my goals. When I am not in school I am working and saving up for my college tuition and other expenses. It also helps because my dad is the only one working right now since my mom had surgery. I also want to give back to my community for helping me with my education and all their help.”
Born in Mexico, Yeira has lived in Wenatchee for 23 years. A part-time student for the past five years, she hopes to graduate from WVC in 2017 with a transfer degree and eventually earn a bachelor of science degree in nursing. She wants to work in mental health or forensic nursing.
A monetary award from the Ludwick Family Scholarship for Health Sciences “has helped me to be financially stable in order to pay for my classes and obtain the career of my dreams,” said Tashna.
A WVC student since 2015, she hopes to complete her Medical Assisting degree in 2018. Her long-range goal is to earn a bachelor of science degree in nursing and work as a nurse.
Born in Jamaica where she graduated from high school, Tashna has lived in Wenatchee for four years.
“My scholarship is everything to me!” said Maria, who is working toward a Medical Assistant certificate. “Without my financial aid, I couldn’t do anything. I am a widow, so the only support my daughters have comes from me.”
Born in Mexico, Maria has lived in Wenatchee for the past nine years. She earned her high school diploma from WVC. Her career goal is to work as a dietitian, so she plans to transfer to a university after completing her coursework at WVC in 2019