Hundreds expected to attend CFCC’s “Gift of Education” Luncheon on May 19

On Thursday, May 19, hundreds of area business and community leaders will attend the Cape Fear Community College Foundation’s annual fundraising luncheon at the Schwartz Center. The luncheon, entitled “Changing Lives through the Gift of Education,” raises funds for student scholarships.

The seventh annual event will raise awareness of the importance of supporting and strengthening our state’s community college system. Several scholarship recipients will share their stories of how CFCC Foundation scholarships have changed their lives and given them access to education that otherwise may have been out of reach.

The luncheon will be held at the Schwartz Center in downtown Wilmington at 11:30 a.m.

Last year, more than 600 community guests donate over $200,000 which helped provide more than 150 scholarships to students.

The event featured inspiring stories told by CFCC scholarship recipients whose lives have been dramatically impacted by the generous support of community donors. Following is an update on two of last year’s student speakers:

Diego Camposeco

“Burgaw teen prodigy racking up successes” was the headline in Star News article last year tracking the extraordinary accomplishments of Diego Camposeco, a May 2010 graduate of CFCC’s Pender Early College High School (PECHS) who was offered admission to UNC Chapel Hill on a full Morehead-Cain Scholarship, having declined acceptance to Harvard University. Since then, Diego has enjoyed a self-described “gap year” during which he’s lived in Quereparo City, Mexico teaching English and art to indigenous children, improving his Spanish, tutoring and traveling. He decided on a gap year because through PECHS he already had two years of college and though he loves school he felt that he needed to get out for a time – not for a break – but to build different skills and to figure out exactly where his interests lie so that he can make wise use of his time once he’s in college.

Having deferred his scholarship, Diego will now attend UNC in Fall 2011, and hopes to continue in graduate school at a prestigious university such as Harvard though he’s not yet sure where his focus will be. Diego credits CFCC with giving him the springboard from which to launch his dreams. “I was in the right place at the right time,” he says, “and all the opportunities just fell into place,” adding, “The funds raised at the Gift of Education Luncheon give so many students an advantage that they wouldn’t otherwise have had. Education is the best investment anyone can make; it improves the lives and futures of those who achieve it and will, in the end, improve the entire nation.” The investment made in and by Diego Camposeco is already paying dividends. As to how high his stock will rise well, the sky’s the limit.

Iris Cooper-Rowland

A single parent with two young daughters, Iris is a self starter who, after being laid off in the economic downturn, cast about for viable options and decided on an education. Her road has been challenging: going to school and working part time has Iris studying into the wee hours after taking care of the needs of her children. However, she is driven to succeed and will do whatever it takes. Nor does she forget her community; not only has she volunteered with VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) but she is also running for PTA president at her daughters’ school. She has also served as a CFCC Student Ambassador in her final year at CFCC.

Iris will graduate this summer with an Associate’s degree in accounting and hopes for admission to UNCW’s Cameron School of Business. Her life-long dream is to follow her undergraduate education with law school and couple it with her accounting background for tax and corporate law. When asked what motivates her, Iris says she is striving to be the kind of person who makes a difference in people’s lives and most importantly, to be a role model for her daughters.

Cape Fear Community College (CFCC) is one of the largest community colleges in North Carolina. Over 27,000 students take courses at the college each year. The college offers 60 technical job-training programs, a college transfer program and continuing education courses. To learn more about helping CFCC students, or supporting the CFCC Foundation, call (910) 362-7331 or visit