Three students from Central Piedmont Community College were recipients of $2,500 in scholarships from the Mint Hill Women’s Club this year.
This is the fifth year the club has given scholarships to CPCC students.
“Initially we did this with Independence and then Butler (high schools), but we didn’t get a whole lot of good response,” Marilyn Folnsbee, with the club, said.
In order to find students who fit the criteria for the scholarship, CPCC uses their database to connect the club with students who are in financial need. To qualify for the scholarship students must be full-time, live in the Mint hill area, maintain a high GPA and proof of financial need. Club members interview applicants.
Most scholarships available today to CPCC students are based on financial need, according to Brenda Lea, executive director of development at CPCC. Officials say several thousand students drop out of classes each year because they can’t afford to continue their education.
While the scholarships provided by individuals and groups like the Mint Hill Women’s Club have brought the number of students dropping out due to financial need down there still is a large need, she said.
“Even though we have a number of groups who do this, we have thousands of students who cannot attend because they have financial need,” Lea said.
CPCC sophomore Shaneé Colon, 29, never expected to be contacted for the scholarship, even after filling out her information on the school’s scholarship database.
While Colon didn’t know anything about the club, she did research and is honored to be a scholarship recipient this year, she said.
“When I sat down with them I was just amazed and thankful that I was able to meet them,” she said.
Colon, an Army veteran who served in South Korea, needed additional money for tuition in order to continue her studies. She hopes to make the women who gave her the scholarship proud in all that she is doing at CPCC. She hasn’t yet chosen a major.
“I really have the highest gratitude toward them for sitting down with me. They were very nice to me and very in tune with what I was talking about,” she said. “They really care, and the scholarship was actually needed. Now I’m set for the entire year.”
According to Folnsbee, awarding the scholarships is all about their gut feeling when members meet each student.
“A lot of it is based on when we interview the people, how we feel and if the person is a good person or has goals. It’s a person who we feel we will make a difference in their lives,” she said.
The club tries to aim for at least $1,000 in scholarships every year and often divides the scholarship between each semester. This year they surpassed that goal by $1,500.
“Depending on how much money we have we give the recipient a certain portion for the first semester and if they maintain their grades they get the second half for the second semester,” Folnsbee said.
For the first time since giving the scholarships out the club saw a surplus in the money they had available to donate. One recipient from the previous year left school for the second semester and did not use the remaining portion of the scholarship.
Money used for the scholarships is collected through donations and fundraisers.
Folnsbee says one student has stuck out in the five years the Mint Hill Women’s Club has given the scholarships, a young man whose family hadn’t seen anyone graduate high school or go to college. He went through college with a 3.8 GPA and told Folnsbee she did not know how much the scholarship meant to him.
“This is the first time anyone had really believed in him,” she said.
Want to know more?
For more information about the annual scholarship program or to donate, call club President Tina Ross at 704-545-5354.