Thirty-three Tyler Junior College students recently received $1,000 scholarships for the spring semester from funds donated by TJC employees.
“Not only are the scholarships provided through funds from faculty and staff, the students are nominated by our employees across campus and do not know they have been nominated,” said Shelby Gould, Chief Operating Officer of the TJC Foundation and TJC director of advancement services.
“They are usually incredibly surprised – and grateful – to learn they’ve been selected to receive $1,000 for the spring semester.”
During a luncheon on Tuesday, the scholarship recipients had the opportunity to meet and show their appreciation to TJC employees who donated to the campaign as well as those who nominated them.
Each fall, TJC employees participate in a month-long campaign to raise funds for TJC scholarships and programs as well as the United Way of Smith County.
This year’s campaign theme, “I’m In / This is Why,” highlighted the varied areas of the College that employees are passionate about and what compels them to give; and employees designated their funds as they chose.
In all, 501 TJC employees gave a total of $87,831.
Of that amount, $31,008 (plus an additional, private donation of $2,000) went directly to Promises to Keep Scholarships for TJC students; $11,154 went to the TJC Annual Fund; $31,996 went to TJC programs and activities; and $13,673 went to the United Way of Smith County.
“The national average of participation in annual faculty/staff giving campaigns participation is about 37 percent, so it’s incredible that our employee participation at TJC is around 70 percent,” Gould said. “It shows that our employees care deeply about our students and are willing to provide support where it is needed.”
Gould also said the $1,000 scholarship could potentially cover the entire cost of a student’s tuition and fees for the semester.
Hestela Rios, of Bullard, is in the TJC physical therapist assistant program. She is a first-generation college student and a single mother of a 14-year-old son.
“My son is definitely a part of this journey and makes all the sacrifices I make,” Rios said to the audience during Tuesday's luncheon. “We’re in this together. The week before school, the financial aid that I was supposed to get did not happen, so my classes got dropped. But because of this scholarship and because of you, I was able to continue. This scholarship also shows my son that there are other options to going into debt, and it has helped him to look ahead and have a plan for his own future.”
Scholarship recipients, their majors and hometowns, are: Catia Bell, visual communication, Lindale; Amaya Blanton, general studies, Tyler; Katie Burns, music, Austin; Thomas Champion, nursing, Tyler; Marian Chance, nursing, Tyler; Stephanie Clark, nursing-EMSP-RN, Mabank; MacKenzie Clayton, speech/communication, Van; EnTavias Curry, engineering, Tyler; Hannah Davidson, pre-nursing, Lindale; Tiffany Dodson, physical therapy assistant, Jacksonville; Rachel Eslicker, occupational therapy, Tyler; Sylvia Griselle Esparza, biology, Tyler; Cooper Ezell, speech/communication, Tyler; Rafael Fuentes, radiological technology, Tyler; Carlos Garcia, biology, Plano; Trenna Gillett, general studies, Van; Hannah Horton, English, Tyler; TaDasha Jones, business, Tyler; Amanda LeBlanc, medical sonography, Chandler; Jeongmin Lee, pre-nursing, South Korea; Elizabeth MacPherson, nursing, Tyler; Halley Miller, occupational therapy, Tyler; Martin Morales Alvarez, physics, Tyler; Julian Nelson, nursing-EMSP-RN, Pittsburg; Fortune Nwachukwu, pre-nursing, Tyler; Karen Peterson, nursing, Tyler; Hestela Rios, physical therapy assistant, Bullard; Julieanne Rodriguez, physical therapy assistant, Lufkin; Chelsie Sargrent, criminal justice, Woodville; MacKenna Sims, occupational therapy, Van; Maurice Trotter, music, Tyler; Anna Weikel, criminal justice, Tyler; and Jessica Willard, medical lab tech, Henderson.
For more on TJC scholarship opportunities, go to TJC.edu/scholarships.