SANFORD — Julio Borja, Central Carolina Community College student, smiled across the table at those who are helping him afford his college education.
“It goes beyond the money,” he said. “It gives me somebody who believes in me and has hope in me.”
Borja, a Sanford resident, is the 2010-11 recipient of the John Thomas Davenport Scholarship. That financial aid is helping him to earn a university transfer degree at the college. He plans to continue his education at a four-year institution.
At the table with Borja sat Tommy Davenport, son of John Thomas Davenport; Jean Davenport, Tommy’s wife; and Toni Davenport, the couple’s daughter. The family endowed a scholarship with the Central Carolina Community College Foundation 10 years ago to honor their father and grandfather, a successful Sanford businessman, and to financially assist CCCC students.
“Father would be tickled to death to know that we have done this,” Tommy said.
Borja and the Davenports were among the several hundred scholarship donors and recipients who gathered Nov. 16 at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center for the Foundation’s annual Scholarship Luncheon.
“The luncheon provides an opportunity for the donors to become personally acquainted with those they are helping and enables the recipients to thank them in person,” said Diane Glover, Foundation executive director. “Most of our scholarship recipients wouldn’t be able to afford college without this help. We are fortunate to have generous individuals, organizations and businesses in our communities willing to assist them.”
The CCCC Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization affiliated with, but independent of, the college. It receives donations of money and equipment on behalf of the college and uses them to promote the college’s educational mission and assist students through scholarships and grants. The Foundation currently manages endowed scholarship funds totaling $2.8 million that provide about 120 scholarships each year.
College President Bud Marchant welcomed the donors and recipients to the luncheon.
“This luncheon, along with graduation, is one of the most festive and joyous occasions we have at the college,” he said. “We thank all of our donors for helping our students achieve their dream of a college education.”
University transfer degree student Lauren Busche, from Fuquay Varina, addressed the gathering.
“My family could not support my dreams of a college education,” she said quietly. “I’d seen my mother sign up for college classes, but have to drop them because of the cost. In summer 2008, I decided to register at CCCC and apply for a scholarship.”
Busche was awarded the Harnett Students Scholarship in both 2008 and 2009 to help her pay for college. Edward Taylor, the college’s carpentry instructor at Harnett Correctional Institution, represented the donors at the luncheon.
“This scholarship opened the opportunity to do everything else I want to,” Busche said. “Everything starts from here. I wouldn’t have been able to afford college without this scholarship. I’ve asked Mr. Taylor to change my life twice and he did.”
Busche will graduate in the spring and plans to continue her education at UNC-Wilmington.
Taylor said there is a lot of joy in helping young people afford an education. The money for this scholarship comes from the annual auctioning of furniture and metal work created by student inmates in the college’s carpentry and welding classes at HCI. Taylor said the student inmates see the scholarship as a way to give back to society.
Thomas Smith, of Moncure, was a forklift operator until he broke his leg and ended up in a wheelchair for nine months. He couldn’t return to his former position, so he decided to come to CCCC to retrain for another career. Now he’s looking forward to his graduation in August in machining technology.
“I received the Cymbria and Raymond H. Amberger Scholarship to help me pay for my education,” he said. “It has meant a lot that somebody out there cares. I really appreciate it.”
Ralph Upton, Foundation vice president for Resource Development, told the gathering that there has not been a time since the founding of the college almost a half century ago when the need for people to train and retrain for jobs has been greater. He said that 85 percent of the college’s students and graduates live and work in the college’s service area of Chatham, Harnett and Lee counties. When scholarship donors invest in the college’s students, it is an investment in their communities.
For information on establishing scholarships or endowments, contact Glover at the CCCC Foundation, (919) 718-7231 or firstname.lastname@example.org
. To apply for a scholarship, contact the CCCC Financial Aid Office, (919) 718-7229.