Ardent pupils accept grants
Published: Thursday, May 10, 2012
Updated: Thursday, May 10, 2012 15:05
As names were individually announced at the 53rd annual Scholarship Awards Ceremony, recipients were able to walk off stage with more than a congratulatory handshake and scroll.
Held in the Knox Center on April 27, students were recognized for their achievements and dedication to their studies. Ninety-five students were given at least one of more than 110 scholarships awarded.
The awards recognized included the Foundation Achievement Scholarship, the Kennedy-King Memorial Scholarship, the John Christenson Scholarship and the Peggy Fleming DSPS Scholarship.
Engineering major Robin Lopez, who was chosen to give the student tribute for the evening, spoke of the hardships he encountered in his life.
“When I was younger, I was associated with the wrong crowd and did some illegal things, so it was hard to pull myself out,” Lopez said. “I worked two or three jobs in high school and what I couldn’t earn through (them), I made up for it by going to the streets.”
Lopez said a major turning point in his life was when his friend committed suicide, leading him to take a semester off so he could re-invent himself.
As a recipient of three scholarships including the Kennedy-King Memorial Scholarship and the Alpha Gamma Sigma-Chapter Service Award, Lopez said it felt amazing to be rewarded for turning what could have destroyed him into something positive.
Many of the scholarships at the ceremony, made exclusively for CCC students, were funded through the Contra Costa College Foundation.
With the help of the Foundation, $220,000 was raised to fund the majority of the scholarships awarded at the ceremony.
Financial aid coordinator Lizette Ponthier said a collaborative effort was made between the Foundation Office and several of the departments on campus in coordinating the event.
“We tried to be more detail-oriented and organized,” student life coordinator Kelly Ramos said. “We worked on changing how to prepare and market the scholarships to students.”
Nursing major Nichole Solis received the Anthony and Jackie Astorgano Scholarship.
“I never thought I’d win and here I am. The college is here for students to succeed,” Solis said.
Senior executive assistant to the president Melody Hanson, who helped contact benefactors and organized the event, was happy to see the students’ accomplishments.
“It’s very gratifying to see the work we’re doing is paying off,” Hanson said. “(The event) shows our students’ success and it brings us happiness in these bleak budgetary times.”