NORFOLK - Generosity took the spotlight recently at Northeast Community College’s annual Scholarship Luncheon. Scholarship recipients and the sponsors that help them succeed were honored at the event.
“Today has to do with scholarly work. It’s all about an effective teaching and learning environment and about the people who sponsor these students to enable them to meet their educational goals,” said Dr. Michael Chipps, Northeast president. “We hear remarkable stories every day about our students. They aspire to attend Northeast Community College, but often, by no fault of their own, they are unable to afford to do so. Our Board of Governors are emphatic that we keep this education affordable and accessible.”
Seventy-eight percent of degree seeking students at Northeast received financial aid during the past academic year. Sixty-four percent of Northeast students are eligible for Pell Grants, which means that the federal government believes the family is able to contribute less than $5,200 per year to the student’s cost of education. This past year, scholarships in the amount of $250,000 were presented to Northeast Community College students with an average award of approximately $600. Seventy-two percent of Northeast students are first-generation college students.
Chipps also emphasized that scholarships aid in retention.
“We know that 88 percent of our graduates live, work and pay taxes in Nebraska after they graduate. Of the graduates who are employed in Nebraska, 57 percent are employed within our 20-county service area. In addition, 98 percent of our graduates were either employed or continuing their education during the past year.”
Northeast student Cecelia Ponce, of Hartington, also spoke at the luncheon. A recipient of the Arlo Wirth Memorial Scholarship, she will complete her certificate in media production in May and plans to pursue an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in media arts at Northeast in the fall.
Ponce said that with her scholarships, she would not be able to attend Northeast.
“My mom was a single mom for a large part of my life, so money has always been an issue. It’s great that I get the opportunity to be here, to continue my education and to be a role model to my sisters and family.”
The audience also heard from Dallas Bruning, of Edgar, who will earn his AAS degree in drafting with a structural concentration in May.
At the luncheon, Bruning discussed how Northeast provided him many opportunities for personal growth and career success, including a chance to serve as a member of the College’s Resident and Student Assistant (RA/SA) team. RA/SA team members help create and maintain a successful academic-focused living environment in residence halls.
Like Ponce, he attributed much of his success to receiving scholarship funds to attend Northeast.
“Receiving scholarships for both freshman and sophomore years were some of the biggest reasons I was able to attend as well as continue my education in the drafting field. It allowed me to enjoy the college experience while allowing me many more opportunities.”
Bruning told the audience he recently accepted a position as a steel detailer at Klute Steel Fabrication in York.
“As a first generation college student, it means a lot to me to find the right college, to eventually graduate and to start my life with the golden ticket: a diploma.”