Over 600 people from around the local community packed the Schwartz Center at Cape Fear Community College earlier today to help raise an estimated $300,000 for student scholarships.
Sponsored by the CFCC Foundation, the annual “Gift of Education” luncheon is an annual event organized to raise funds to help students afford a college education.
The bulk of today’s program featured speeches from current and former students who spoke about how their life and careers have been affected by their experiences at CFCC.
Each student came to Wilmington and enrolled at CFCC for a different reason, but all three emphasized their high level of gratitude and respect for the college because of the opportunities and support they received as students.
Stephen Golf, a recent CFCC nursing graduate and former U.S. Marine, explained that CFCC “defies the notion of being a stepping-stone to another institution.”
“Cape Fear is the institution that encourages and sets up success at any level. It’s the individuals who make up this large entity, who are the reason I am standing here before you today, and the reason I can proudly say that I am a nurse and it is my goal and privilege to serve our local community through this profession,” Golf stated in his remarks.
CFCC graduate Araceli Leon, who is a current doctoral student at UNC-Chapel Hill’s pharmacy school, made a point to say thanks to all the donors who helped her realize her dream of becoming a pharmacist.
“My dreams are becoming true thanks to you all, who have donated for scholarships that allow students like myself to focus on our career path and ease the financial burden of college tuition costs,” Leon said.
Current CFCC student Lanier Warner, who overcame a series of personal and economic difficulties before rediscovering a love for ‘books and basketball” at CFCC, got a standing ovation following his remarks.
Following speeches from the students and graduates, Donald Croteau, CEO of Vertex Rail Technologies spoke to the crowd about his own challenges growing up in the Boston projects. Croteau emphasized that our local area is very fortunate to have an institution like CFCC to help guide people reach their goals and he urged the guests to make a contribution to the cause.
According to Margaret Robison, CFCC’s vice president of institutional advancement, the need for additional support for student scholarships is absolutely essential to help students begin and achieve their educational goals.
“Financial need is the most common reason students cite for not finishing their studies,” Robison said.
Last year, contributions to the CFCC Foundation helped to fund 475 student scholarships.
“We are very fortunate to have so many generous individuals who believe in the mission of the college and who have chosen to give to the Foundation to help our students succeed,” Robison stated.
Other speakers at the event included CFCC Foundation Chairperson Jan Capps, CFCC Interim President Dr. Amanda Lee, and CFCC students Shaquasha Williams and Jonathan “J.J” Brodie. Rev. Carl Byrd gave the invocation and CFCC graduate Mariah Grace Sutton sang the national anthem.
For more information about the CFCC Foundation, visit www.cfcc.edu/foundation.