by jamesc 4/11/2014 11:29:40 AM --
NORFOLK – Hundreds of students at Northeast Community College have seen the generosity of others. The scholarship recipients and their sponsors were honored during the annual Scholarship Luncheon, which recognizes the sponsors for helping Northeast students succeed with their education.
“Students who walk through our doors have hopes and dreams for a bright future, but many look ahead and see obstacles rather than opportunities,” said Mary Honke, Northeast executive vice president. “Many drop in and out of education because of family and job responsibilities and often have to work more to save up enough to attend another semester of school. Our goal is to help all students achieve academic post-secondary success regardless of their financial situation.”
Honke said 79-percent, or 2,214 of the 2,813 degree seeking students at Northeast received financial aid. She said 42-percent of student’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) applications have an expected family contribution of $0, meaning students qualify for the full Pell grant funding earning $23,000 or less. In addition, 31-percent of Northeast students work full-time and 47-percent work part-time.
“For 2013-2014, 321 scholarship awards were made in the amount of $212,215 with an average award of $661,” Honke said. “The number of scholarships we award, however, hasn’t kept up with the needs. In fact, the number of scholarship applications has nearly doubled in just four-years.” Honke said scholarship sponsors are critical to the success of Northeast students with their generous contributions.
Affiliated Foods Midwest is a sponsor of a number of Northeast scholarships. Chief Financial Officer Duane Severson spoke of the unique way the scholarships are funded. “With over 600 employees based in Nebraska we decided to fund the scholarships through what we earn through vending machines in our facilities.” He joked, “Now when I go and pick up my Mountain Dew and my bag of Doritos for the day, I feel much better about myself.”
Affiliated Foods Midwest has contributed over $60,000 to Northeast Community College scholarships over the past 15 years. The company has also been a major contributor to both the Chuck M. Pohlman Agriculture Complex and the College of Nursing on the Northeast campus. It also hires many Northeast graduates each year.
Those at the luncheon also heard from two scholarship recipients. Lindsey Sievers is a sophomore practical nursing major from Randolph and received the Eleanor Fuhrman Endowed Nursing and the Missionary Benedictine Sisters scholarships.
Sievers, who is a non-traditional student and a single mother of a four-year-old son and a two-year-old daughter, said this was her second time back in college. “I have a bachelor’s degree in animal science. However, the career path I choose with animal science did not quite fit in well for my two children. So, after working three years as a CNA (Certified Nurse Assistant), I decided to come back and try school again.”
Sievers said she is touched by the generosity the scholarship sponsors have for other people. “Words cannot describe it. It makes a huge difference. It doesn’t just influence a student’s life – it influences the parents who wish they can help more, it influences their children, and it influences the people all around the students. Your generosity is greatly, greatly appreciated.”
Catherine Martinez, a sophomore drafting student from Norfolk, received the John and Eileen Doherty Drafting Scholarship. She spoke of how her college experience has created a second family for her. “I don’t have a story about how I got through college. I have many stories. Most of those stories would not have been possible without the help of our supporters and benefactors. If it wasn’t for you, I would have never met these amazing people.”
Martinez said, “Your donations support more than education. They support new found friendships, families and life-long memories. So, on behalf of me, my new family and all Northeast beneficiaries, I would like to thank you.”
J. Paul and Eleanor McIntosh and their family have supported many Northeast Community College students over the years through scholarships, as well as encouraging other donors to create endowed scholarships by establishing funds to match their initial gifts. In total, the McIntosh’s have provided nearly $1 million to scholarships and have helped to provide matching gifts for the creation or growth of over 70 additional scholarships valued at over $1.5 million.
J. Paul McIntosh told the students that the people who have helped them probably had someone help them in their lives. “Ever since the day that each of us was born, our lives have been influenced and shaped by parents, relatives, friends, books, newspapers, enemies, and various events that have occurred to each one of us. Life is all about attitudes and choices. Although we have all made some bad choices at some points in our lives, that doesn’t mean your life has to be defined by those choices. With the right attitude, you can change. You can make good choices and turn your life around. Many of you here today, have done just that.”
In addition to the scholarships, the McIntosh’s provided the lead donation to the College of Nursing facility (of which the facility is named in their honor) and other substantial gifts for the construction of the Chuck M. Pohlman Agriculture Complex, the Utility Line Building and the Lifelong Learning Center.
J. Paul McIntosh also served on the College’s Board of Governors for 20 years and is currently a member of the Northeast Community College Foundation Board.
Honke said scholarship dollars not only impact the individual, but the greater community at large. She said scholarships are a recruitment tool, providing assistance to students who might not otherwise be able to attend. “Scholarships are also a retention tool. We know that 88% of our graduates live, work and pay taxes in our state after graduation. And last year, 99% of our graduates were either employed or continuing their education.”
Honke said, “With nearly 68-percent of our students coming from first generation families, we know that earning that degree impacts future generations and helps our communities to remain vital and strong.”
J. Paul McIntosh visits with several Northeast Community College scholarship recipients following a recent luncheon to honor the students and their scholarship sponsors. For 2013-2014 academic year at Northeast, 321 scholarship awards were made in the amount of $212,215 with an average award of $661. “The number of scholarships we award, however, hasn’t kept up with the needs,” said Mary Honke, Northeast executive vice president. She said scholarship sponsors are critical to the success of Northeast’s students with their generous contributions.