Scholarship funds future tuition costs
Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, May 23, 2012 15:05
The Kennedy-King Memorial College Scholarship Fund has been helping district students pay for their educations since 1968, and this year eight Contra Costa College students transferring to four-year colleges and universities were awarded the honor.
“The application process is rigorous,” Financial Aid coordinator Lizette Ponthier said. “These scholarships are beneficial because it pays $8,000 toward your education over a span of two years.”
There will be an awards banquet for the recipients at the Crowne Plaza Hotel at 45 Glenn Drive in Concord on May 18 at 6 p.m.
Each year the number of winners fluctuates dependent upon the number of applicants and the amount of money donated to the fund. Last year there were 11 winners from CCC alone and 23 recipients total throughout the district.
The scholarship is intended to help minority students who will have a junior standing when they transfer to a four-year institution.
Applicants must submit a timely application with the required attachments, including three references, a personal statement essay and evidence of financial need.
They must also go through an interview process with a group of people who confirm what was written on the attached forms and ask questions regarding career and educational goals.
Interviews were conducted on March 24, and all applicants received the good or bad news by mail two days after.
Engineering major Robin Lopez was ecstatic about being one of the 2012 award winners.
“My hands were shaking when I saw the letter in the mailbox,” he said. “If you got the thick envelope, it means you got the scholarship. A light one means (you didn’t).”
The 23-year-old said students who apply should have some involvement in community service. As a member of the Alpha Gamma Sigma honor society, Lopez said he has volunteered at coastal clean-ups and the city of Richmond’s annual Home Front Festival.
Lopez said he receives little financial aid because of his household income.
However, he said his parents do not offer much monetary support toward his education.
“(Getting the scholarship) really helps,” he said. “I might even have to take a loan out, but that’s how determined I am. I will go into debt for my education because no one will take that away from me.”
Veronica Hernandez, assistant to the director of the Center for Science Excellence, also received the scholarship.
The biology major was accepted to UC Davis and she said that the interviews were the most nerve-wracking part of the process.
ASU Rep. Albert Ambris, a scholarship award winner, said he strongly urges students to apply and go to the workshops that are held specifically for this scholarship by the Financial Aid Office and the mock interviews organized by Student Life Coordinator Kelly Ramos.
“They really help you prepare and it’s a lot of money that is rewarded to students who do hard work,” Ambris said.
Police aide Brandy Wilson said she applied because it was the biggest scholarship offered on campus.
The single-parent said she is grateful because the money will help her when she goes to Cal State-Sacramento to continue her studies in criminal justice.
On Saturday, the scholarship winners went to Wentling’s Studio in Concord and were videotaped giving two-minute personal responses to three questions pertaining to educational obstacles, community service and plans for the future.
One response from each recipient will be presented during the annual Kennedy-King scholarship banquet.
The other winners from CCC are Paul Rhone, Robert Sanchez, Marta Pastore and Quwana Bashir.
Individual tickets to the dinner party cost $75.