MARIETTA, OHIO—The Washington State Community College Foundation made several students very happy during the gift-giving season last December with the delivery of great news. Six students were notified that they were awarded a scholarship that eliminates the worry of how to cover the expenses of college.
The Donald Morris Charitable Trust Scholarship was newly established in December and the benefactor wanted to put the funds to work immediately. The fund was created to annually benefit six students, one from each program: Nursing (including all nursing program testing and licensure fees), Accounting Technology, Business Management Technology, Diesel Truck Systems, Education Transfer, and Industrial Technology – Process Technician. It covers tuition, standard fees, books, mandatory supplies, as well as licensing and testing fees.
“I was so excited,” recalled Lacy Morrow, a student enrolled in the Education and Advancement to Registered Nurse (EARN) pathway. “I was at work when I got the email that said I got the scholarship. I was screaming and jumping up and down. I think I even cried a little,” said Morrow. EARN is designed to help students progress through WSCC’s practical nursing program and then onto its associate degree nursing program while working in the healthcare field and earning industry credentials along the way. Morrow is currently completing her final semester in the practical nursing program.
“Here I am 30 years old and back at school. I’ve got two kids, a husband and I’ve got a scholarship to help me so I don’t have to worry about how I’m going to do this [financially],” Morrow proclaimed.
“In total, the estimated value of the scholarships for the six students for the completion of their associate degree program is more than $86,000,” said Cheryl Canaday, Executive Assistant for the Foundation.
“This scholarship is really one of the largest we have ever received, both in terms of the number of students who will benefit and the comprehensiveness of their awards,” Canaday confirmed.
She explained that because of the comprehensive nature of the scholarship, its value will vary from student to student as books and supplies differ from one major to the next. She also pointed out that not all programs require licensing or testing to complete the credentialing process.
Morrow shared that her children were a big motivator in helping her decide to go back to school. “When they looked at me and said, ‘I’m so proud of you Mommy,’ I told them thank you. I’m one step closer to following my dream so that you can follow yours.”
Michael Daniels was also among the elite group of students receiving the generous gift. In December, he graduated with his Chemical Operator certificate. It was only a few weeks prior when he decided to register for the spring semester in pursuit of his associate degree—a decision that proved to be far more valuable than he could have imagined.
Daniels candidly admits that he wasn’t looking forward to more student loan debt that came along with the commitment to advance his degree, but ultimately he knew it would prove beneficial in the long run. Just days after he completed his last chemical operator course, he got word of the scholarship.
“I was pretty surprised,” Daniels said with a smile. “I immediately let my mom and my aunt know and shared it with some friends.” While enrolled in the Chemical Operator certificate program, he had been awarded two scholarships that helped offset some of the expenses associated with his academic pursuits; however, he still had to take out a student loan to cover the remainder of the cost.
“I had to take out student loans for my first year, but not having to worry about going further in debt with student loans is a big deal to me,” said Daniels. “It means more than words can say.”
Daniels needs only seven additional classes to earn his Associate of Applied Science in Industrial Technology – Process Technician. “I won’t let this scholarship go to waste. I will give it my all and make something out of it,” he assured.