The Clover Park Technical College Foundation held its 3rd Annual Scholarship Banquet at the campuses McGavick Student Center on Thursday night. Brought together to honor the students, faculty and staff, the evening showed four of the colleges shining stars.
Stephany Vermillion is a 2009 graduate from the Interior Design program and a Foundation scholarship recipient. “On the first day of class, I felt like I had come home,” noted Stephany. However, bills were mounting, and the pressure was building. She asked her professors if she belonged in the program. In a word, “YES!” Any other response, and she would have left. However, she stayed, completed the program and is now employed in the interior design marketplace.
“There is nothing more frustrating than almost being able to pay your bills,” said Stephany. It was the Foundation scholarship that helped to keep her in school, pay those bills and complete her degree.
Marijean Brown, her mother and siblings, fled Guam eight years ago. They left behind an abusive, alcoholic father/husband, family, friends, and nearly all their worldly possessions. Marijean is a student of the Culinary Arts program. In addition to her classwork, Marijean helps to care for her younger brother who is afficted with cerenal palsy, and donates her time at the Boys & Girls Club Junior and Teen Chefs program. She hopes to move on to South Seattle Community College and then perhaps open her own restaurant.
Carlos Ortiz is in the Media Design and Production department. Carlos was unable to attend as he was rightfully attending his wifes college graduation ceremony. Being a media student, Carlos put together a short video to thank the Foundation and show a little of his background. Carlos came to western Washington from Los Angeles. He and his wife lived through the Rodney King and O.J. Simpson riots in the 1990s, and knew they needed to get out. Today, his eight and 10 year old sons know little about the riots, but he has instilled in them a desire to learn. In fact, they learned a great deal about those horrible times while Carlos was putting together his video.
Jennifer Mitchell got off to a rocky start. At 15, she became pregnant, and saw a long up hill battle. Jennifer is enrolled in the Environmental Science department and recently was awarded the Washington Award for Vocational Excellence (WAVE). That award with help her finish her bachelor’s degree by assisting with tuition. Jennifer is already employed in her chosen field and looks forward very much to continuing her education.
The evening was capped by a tribute to long-time Foundation board member Jim McGranahan. McGrahan Architects’ Matt Lane offered a moving tribute to Jim and his family. In addition to his role in the Foundation, Jim also played a part in many of the buildings on the Clover Park Technical Colleges campus.
The Foundation awarded $90,000 in emergency grants and scholarships this year. The faculty and staff donated more than $31,000 to the Foundation this year as well. For additional information about the Clover Park Technical College Foundation, contact Cecelia Loveless, Director of Development at 253-589-5962.