Scholarship recipients thank donors
Scholarship beneficiaries and benefactors alike had an opportunity to exchange dialogue at the North Idaho College Foundation’s scholarship celebration Thursday night.
“We’re here to celebrate their [students] accomplishments as well as your giving to help them achieve their academic goals,” said Joe Dunlap, president of NIC.
The focus of the event was to allow recipients of scholarships to meet face to face with their benefactors and exchange words and tell their stories. The event was hosted by the NIC Foundation and represented by its executive director, Rayelle Anderson.
“There are students who have overcome abuses. We have single parents, we have individuals from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, but nonetheless they persist, and they persist in part because of your [donors] generosity,” Dunlap said.
One such student was Michelle Bristow, 27, Communications, Portland, who spoke to the gathering as the recipient of the Claire McDonald Memorial Scholarship, for single parents.
“I wrote a paper about the struggles I experienced while being a single parent, and much to my surprise I was chosen and it’s been a whirlwind of positive recognition from a lot of hard work,” Bristow said.
Garrett Powell, 19, Diesel Technology, Priest River, was another student speaker at the event. He received a scholarship from the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation.
“This scholarship has helped out tremendously. It’s been able to pay for my tuition for both years. It’s covered the full cost of coming to school,” said Powell. “I can’t express enough how thankful I am to have this opportunity to attend school virtually debt free.”
Powell intends to graduate from NIC and continue his education before opening his own business. His dream is to create his own scholarship foundation and benefit students the way he was benefited.
Many students had the opportunity to dine with their respective scholarships’ representatives.
Leasa Harmon, 51, Art Therapy, Coeur d’Alene, was another student who said her life was positively affected by her scholarship.
“As a single woman trying to go to school and work, it’s a juggling game. It took a lot of stress off,” said Harmon. “The opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to somebody that’s supporting your dreams and your education is pretty nice.”
Benefactors also had the opportunity to speak and share their own experiences. Daniel Pinkerton of the Daniel and Kathryn Pinkerton Endowment Scholarship and NIC Alumni Association President Dennis Grant also attended the podium.
Pinkerton described his life growing up in relation to the many mentors he had, and how they helped him succeed in his life.
“When you think of what opportunities are available here at NIC, it’s one of the most diverse organizations I have seen out there,” Pinkerton said. “It is a privilege for us as donors to provide mentorship opportunities to this community.”
The NIC Alumni Association finished the event with awards for 2012 for the Honorary Alumnus of the Year, and the Alumni of the Year.
Robert Murray, NIC dean of general studies, was given the honorary alumnus award to recognize his hard work as an NIC instructor and in various leadership roles on the campus.
1976 alumni Dean Bennett received his award for over 30 years of service to NIC, and helped to create the framework for Outdoor Pursuits, Intermural Sports, and OARS, as well as serving as student government adviser for the last 15 years.
“When I found out last October about the scholarship, I actually cried,” said Krystelle Burgess, 22, Social Work, Coeur d’Alene. “I work really hard; I’m a full-time student and a full-time worker, not a very privileged family at all. I work for everything that I have, and for them to give me that was a really big deal,” Burgess said.
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