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  • Scholarship recipients are grateful for opportunity to continue education

     LEVELLAND – When most high school seniors ponder where to attend college after graduation, McKaile Alexander had to weigh the same options. Instead of venturing into the unknown territory of other two-year colleges and four-year universities, she chose the comfort and familiarity of South Plains College. It was a decision that she was glad she made.

    “I thought why not take advantage of this great opportunity right here in town,” she said. “I have been so blessed with my scholarships that I haven’t had to spend a lot of money on my education. And I live at home.”

    As a result of her decision, Alexander received several scholarships that rewarded her academic achievements. She is the recipient of the Jimmy Ray Carroll Memorial Scholarship in Agriculture, the Hockley County School Employees Credit Union Scholarship, a Campus Ambassador Scholarship and a Presidential Scholarship.

    “By coming here I haven’t had to work and I am so blessed for my scholarships,” Alexander said. “If I had gone to other schools I would have had to work.”

    world kidsAlexander is studying agriculture communications. While at SPC, she serves as a Campus Ambassador and she is a member of Phi Theta Kappa. She plans to transfer to Texas Tech University after graduating with her Associate Degree at South Plains College in May 2014.

    “I am the oldest of three children, and I tell my brother Kain, a senior at Levelland High School, to take time out and fill out the scholarship application online,” she said. “I tell him this even when I’m interrupting his homework but he has to get this done now before the deadline.”

    Many of the scholarships that SPC awards to students like Alexander are the result of the fundraising efforts of the Scholarship Gala. This year, South Plains College will host the 16th Annual Scholarship Gala at 6 p.m. on March 1 in the Physical Education Complex.

    “The relationship we build with scholarship donors is two-fold – it’s about the students who have the opportunity to focus on studies rather than their part-time jobs,” said Dr. Sharp. “Secondly, students can finish their degrees in a timely manner and become productive citizens.”

    According to Julie Gerstenberger, director of Development, “the familiar saying ‘to give a gift is to receive a gift’ will be showcased at the gala. As the liaison between the donors and the scholarship recipients, she gets to see both sides of the exchange.

    “We get to see how the donor has given this opportunity to a student and the student who has all of this freshness and potential is now able to pursue his goals,” Gerstenberger said. “We develop relationships that are rewarding on both sides of the gift – the generosity of the donors and the gratefulness of the scholarship recipients.”

    Kade Corely, a scholarship recipient from Andrews, knows the impact of the scholarship first-hand. Corely said he is grateful to his donors for helping him achieve his goals and giving him the opportunity to continue his education.

    “With any scholarship, I love it. I love the idea of it,” said Corely, general studies major. “It helps you. People who donate support you, but they also believe in you. It’s their way of letting you know that you can do it and someone believes in you.”

    Both of his parents and his older brother attended college and know the importance of a quality education. He said his mother attended a community college before transferring to Baylor University, so they share a bond over knowing the feel of a tight-knit college.

    Corely is an active SPC student. He is involved with multiple organizations on campus including Campus Ambassadors, the Ballroom Dance Team and the Baptist Student Ministry. He said his original plans did not include SPC, but he is glad he decided to attend the college.

    “Honestly, I didn’t plan on staying here. But the professors, the feel of the town and my friends make it hard to leave,” he said. “This will be missed when it’s finally time to move on.”

    After he graduates in May, Corely plans to attend Texas Tech where he will major in biology and minor in Spanish. He said his ultimate goal is to become a missionary.

    For ticket and sponsorship information or to make a donation, please contact Gerstenberger at (806) 716-2020.

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