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Waubonsee Voices: Scholarship donors make dreams come true

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT
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(Photo provided)
Kathy Richards (left) and Linda Linden

Making dreams come true. That’s what we do at Waubonsee Community College. Many students come here looking for an education that will lead to a satisfying career. Others come for college credit they can transfer to a four-year college or university.  Still others come to develop a specific job skill, to improve their ability to speak and write the English language, to continue the process of lifelong learning, or simply to obtain help in deciding their future path. By offering classes that meet a wide variety of learner needs, Waubonsee is helping community members fulfill their educational and career dreams.

But many of these dreams would go unrealized if it weren’t for Waubonsee Community College Foundation scholarships and the generous donors who make them possible. Like scholarship recipients, scholarship donors are motivated to connect with Waubonsee for a variety of reasons. They may be a local employer who wants to ensure qualified, prepared employees. They may be parents whose child(ren) benefited from a community college education. Or, as in the case of this year’s featured donor, they may be a proud Waubonsee alumnus looking to give back.

Late last month, the Waubonsee Community College Foundation hosted its annual “Scholarship Fest: A Celebration of Scholarship Donors and Recipients.” In addition to providing scholarship donors and recipients the opportunity to meet and get to know each other, the event also gives an individual from each group the chance to tell his/her personal story of giving and/or receiving.

This year’s donor told his story of moving from Argentina to America as a young man and having to learn English quickly. He worked two jobs while attending high school in order to help his parents support the family. After receiving a scholarship from Waubonsee, he was able to give up one of the jobs to spend more time studying. Ultimately he graduated from Northern Illinois University and law school and now is a highly-regarded Aurora attorney.

The donor told recipients: “I challenge you to take full advantage of the opportunities that Waubonsee will provide you ... I challenge you to grow and excel at everything that life throws your way. I challenge you to keep pursuing your dreams. And I challenge you to give back to the next generation of Waubonsee students when the time is right.”

This year’s featured scholarship recipient also told a story of the American dream, but in her case, it was about her grandfather, who came from Greece at age 18, learned English and was able to graduate from college by working nights. “Papou” provided a college education for his three daughters and served as a role model for his granddaughter, who now has the opportunity to earn a degree and improve her life.   

Rarely is there a gift that lasts a lifetime. An education is one such gift, but many students need help unwrapping it. That’s where you and the Waubonsee Community College Foundation come in. It is the sole mission of the foundation to award scholarships to qualified WCC students; however, we can’t do that without your help. Visit www.waubonsee.edu/foundation or call the Office of Fund Development at 630-466-2316 to learn more.

• Kathy Richards is the director of fund development, and Linda Linden is a fund development associate at Waubonsee Community College. The “Waubonsee Voices” column runs the third Wednesday of each month in the Kane County Chronicle.

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