|2020 scholarship recipients|
More than 500 Grossmont and Cuyamaca College students who received scholarships totaling almost $450,000 this academic year were celebrated at a breakfast held Saturday by the Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges.
The event featured compelling stories from students about how the scholarships help them focus on school and moving tales from donors about the reasons they established a scholarship.
Scholarships were awarded to 537 students from the two East County colleges in the 2019-20 academic year.
“For our students, getting a scholarship makes the difference in whether they can go to college and pursue their dreams,” said Sally Cox, CEO of the Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges.
Lynn Ceresino Neault, chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District, the scholarships they are receiving are a way of showing support for students in their efforts to attain an education.
“Today someone believes in you and has invested in your future,” Neault told the students. “Nelson Mandela said, ‘Education is the weapon to change the world.’ You have the opportunity to change the world.
“Receiving this scholarship is like taking tons of weight off my shoulders,” she said.
Ibarra, who came with her family to the United States from Mexico when she was 7 years old, said she wants to become an elementary school teacher to provide a better experience for her future students than the lack of support she received.
“I will continue to fight for my dreams and the dreams of my parents,” Ibarra said.
A new scholarship this year is the Brian Jennings “Building Bridges” scholarship, honoring Grossmont College Political Science Professor Brian Jennings, who was killed in a bicycle accident April 17, 2018. More than $25,000 has been donated to the scholarship fund, creating an endowment that will allow a scholarship to be awarded to a Grossmont College student and a Cuyamaca College student in perpetuity.
Brian’s wife, Cuyamaca College Speech Instructor Nancy Jennings, noted the significance of the date of the event.
“Today would have been Brian’s 60th birthday, and I can think of no better way to celebrate,” Jennings said.
Jennings said her late husband lived life to the fullest, with interests that included camping, hiking, kayaking, bicycling and amateur astronomy. As a professor at Grossmont College since 2005, she said he was dedicated to his students beyond their attendance in his classes.
“He encouraged students to pursue their dreams,” Jennings said.
More than 80 students honored at the event received Osher scholarships, the result of a statewide community college scholarship fund established by the Bernard Osher Foundation in 2011. Osher, a Bay Area philanthropist, committed $50 million to the fund and challenged colleges to raise money to establish the scholarships. Through the money raised by the colleges, the scholarships will be awarded in perpetuity to Grossmont and Cuyamaca College students.
Currently, the foundation is working on the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Promise Plus Campaign to raise $4 million that will create an endowment to support 200 annual scholarships in perpetuity. More than $2 million has already been raised.
Promise Plus Scholarships were created by the foundation to provide critically-needed scholarships to students at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges. The focus of these scholarships are first-time, full-time college students; adults returning to college to improve their workforce skills; students transferring from Adult School; and students facing a financial emergency. Priority will be given to students with financial need.