Nothing warms my heart like realizing the impact Cochise College has on the lives of students. Folks tend to feel validated and inspired to do more when they see evidence of the difference they are making, and I’m no different.

This year, I’ve had the good fortune to review letters from scholarship recipients. The letters not only express thanks for financial assistance, but they also convey the psychological impact of feeling supported.

Of his William and Jerry Harwood Scholarship, named for the college’s second president and his wife, Adam Renegar says, “Because it's for social science majors, this scholarship speaks to me, as if my acceptance is the scholarship talking in my ear: ‘It's okay if you want to major in psychology, Adam. YOU love the subject. YOU love the study of psychology. YOU love helping people, and we'll support your endeavors to continue broadening knowledge of your passion, because we're passionate about psychology too.’"

The Lisa Diane (Smith) Speer Scholarship inspired a student to stick with school when she considered postponing it, and the Aida Estellean Wick Scholarship helped another feel a little less overwhelmed about returning to college as an adult.

The Alice P Chancellor Memorial Scholarship was seen as “pennies from heaven’ for my family,” says recipient Brandi Allee. “I am incredibly excited to graduate from this outstanding program and give back to the community from the healthcare standpoint.”

At Cochise College, the Graduating Senior Scholarship Guarantee aims to assist students from diverse academic credentials. We hope to help as many students as possible while also inspiring young people who may not have considered college as a realistic opportunity.

Evan DeVoss found renewed purpose because of his scholarship. “I have never received any incentive to do well in school besides a pat on the back and a great job, but that changed when I got the scholarship. The grant I have received gives me a boost of confidence and solidifies my drive to do well in school and to be recognized as a great student.”

“Thank you for investing in me as a productive member of our society,” says Jacob Espinosa.

“Getting this scholarship makes me incredibly happy because I am determined to be one of the few people in my family to finish college,” says Sophia Santos. “It would make my grandma, my hero, proud that I am striving for a better education, which she was denied as a young girl in Korea.”

“Having not earned any scholarships thus far, despite applying for so many, this really gave me a boost,” says David Brodhagen, who plans to become an aerospace engineer.

Ginnet Quintero received the Betty Starysky Memorial Scholarship, which is offered to scholarship guarantee students. “Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, and I know I speak for other soon-to-be college students as well when I say your generosity will not be dismissed!”

“I promise to always give my best and never give up,” says Alexandra Esparza.

“Now I am one step closer to becoming a teacher, and I couldn't be more thrilled,” says Kaitlyn Gooding.

Lastly, Alondra Sandoval says the Dr. Mary Lee Shelden Scholarship “inspires me to work harder, to want to achieve my biology degree even more. Being the first college student in my family means that I am going to be the role model for my little sister and my cousins.”

Responding, Dr. Shelden stated,”I am so happy that we can offer these students financial help. If I ever win the lottery, I plan to give it all to student scholarships. I guess we should pray in that direction.”

Scholarships do more than provide money. They inspire motivation for students to realize their potential and their dreams. They validate students’ goals. They keep students going. And we’re grateful for donors’ contribution to a positive and supportive campus culture.

J.D. Rottweiler, Ph.D., is president of Cochise College. Contact him at jdr@cochise.edu.

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