CFCC’s record-breaking ‘Gift of Education’ luncheon raises half a million dollars

Nearly 700 people packed into the Schwartz Center today at Cape Fear Community College for the eighth annual Gift of Education luncheon. The event broke all previous records and raised an estimated $500,000 for the college, most of which will be used to support student scholarships.

The event featured a guest appearance from NASCAR legend Junior Johnson, who spoke about his life and career, which began as a bootlegger in rural North Carolina and spun into a life of professional racing.
Johnson added that in his experience, he feels that supporting education should be a priority for every community in order for that region to be successful.In addition to remarks from the keynote speaker, CFCC students themselves captured the audience’s attention with a series of powerful personal testimonials. Two current CFCC students and one recent graduate explained how their lives were transformed by their experience at the college and by scholarships that provided a means for them to attend college.

Business administration student Michelle Ridgeway earned a standing ovation following her emotional story of how she endured domestic violence and homelessness before relocating to Wilmington and enrolling at CFCC.

“I came to Wilmington looking for a fresh start. What I found was so much more that that. I found a place to call home,” Ridgeway stated.

In addition, she expressed her gratitude to the donors who helped fund two scholarships which enabled her to continue her education.

“Without scholarships, my college dreams would have ended after my first semester. In addition to the much needed financial support, those scholarships told me that someone out there believed in me and my future,” Ridgeway said.

Jamir Jumoke, a college transfer student who plans to attend UNC-Wilmington after graduation, explained that he looks forward to being the first member of his family to earn a college degree. He told the crowd that thanks to their financial support, his life is “night and day” compared to where it was 10 years ago.

“My reality is sometimes being faced with the decision of buying textbooks or buying groceries for my children,” Jumoke said.

“It’s very comforting to know that the scholarship I receive will help ease some of the financial pressure off my household and allow me the peace of mind that is needed to be a focused productive student,” Jumoke added.

This year’s event more than doubled the amount that was raised at last year’s luncheon.
Sara Strassel, chair of the CFCC Foundation Board, was thrilled with the outcome.
“We are so grateful for the overwhelming support from the community,” Strassel said.

The mission of the Cape Fear Community College Foundation is to support the students, faculty, academic programs and mission of the College.

CFCC Gift of Education wide shot final