Scholarship recipients and donors shared an evening together last week at the annual Rend Lake College Foundation Scholarship Dinner to applaud the gift of giving. The event was held last Thursday, Oct. 20, at the Rend Lake Resort in Whittington.
Kay Zibby-Damron, RLC Foundation CEO, said the evening was an important moment for students, donors, and college officials to share: a time to come together and talk about achievements.
“Tonight is a special evening. Rend Lake College students, do you know what is so special about tonight? This evening, you get to spend time with a group of people who recognize the importance of higher education, and who are interested in you, believed in you, and wanted to help you, even though prior to tonight, many of them had not met you,” said Zibby-Damron.
She continued, “Tonight is also a celebration. It is a time to celebrate and offer encouragement to our students as they pursue their hopes and dreams.”
During the 2016-17 academic year, have been nearly $400,000 in scholarships awarded to Rend Lake College students. That investment, Zibby-Damron told the audience, is key to giving back and building local communities.
“All of that is for you, to help you, which is why it’s time to say thank you to the community members, businesses, and RLC alumni who made that investment,” said Zibby-Damron. “Thank you for believing in the importance of education, for believing in Rend Lake College, and for believing in our students. Know that we are committed to doing everything we can to be good stewards of your investment.”
To the students, Zibby-Damron also had some words of encouragement and advice.
“As you go back home and go back to class, remember the people here tonight, because they were interested in you and they know how important it is for you to receive a college education,” said Zibby-Damron. “Your scholarship is not a handout, it is a hand-up, and now it is your responsibility to be accountable for the gift that you have been given. Simply do your best and don’t give up. We believe in you.”
RLC student and scholarship recipient Deborah Loucks of Mt. Vernon also spoke to attendees, telling the story of how she decided to come back to school, despite going through troubling times as a single mother. Loucks is the recipient of the Alyssa Dawn Lorance Memorial Theatre Scholarship, the RLC Students for Students Art Scholarship, and the RLC Theatre Scholarship.
“I feel very honored to be here with you tonight. I, like many of my peers, would not be here without these scholarships. It hasn’t been easy,” said Loucks. “Thanks to the scholarships I received this year, I’m able to continue my degree. I’ve decided I want to be a college theatre professor, to give someone else the support I’ve received at Rend Lake College. The future is scary, but thanks to Rend Lake, I’m equipped for that future.”
Ron Meek, RLC Criminal Justice Professor, and Tony Wielt of Tony Wielt State Farm Insurance also spoke to the audience as donors. The dinner was sponsored by Eggemeyer Associates Architects, Inc.
Those who would like to learn more about supporting RLC students with a scholarship, contact the RLCF at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1214, or send an e-mail [email protected].
To view all photos from the dinner, visit www.flickr.com.