SANFORD — Ashley Hanna almost lost her dream of becoming a nurse.
The Cameron resident had cared for her mother-in-law and grandmother as they suffered with terminal cancer. She felt blessed to serve them and decided that she wanted to become a nurse so she could help others. Then her husband became disabled, and with a family of three children to support, she knew her dream of being a nurse was over.
Her story has a happy ending. With the help of a scholarship obtained through the Central Carolina Community College Foundation, she is now enrolled in the college’s Associate Degree Nursing program.
Hanna told her story to more than 400 scholarship donors and recipients gathered for the CCCC Foundation Scholarship Banquet on Nov. 18 in the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center. The annual banquet enables the donors to put a face and story with their scholarship and provides an opportunity for the recipients to say thank-you.
Hanna was the recipient of the J. Linwood Keith Memorial Nursing Scholarship. Mary Lynn Keith, who established the scholarship, was seated in the audience. Hanna smiled at her gratefully and said to all the scholarship recipients, “It’s my wish that we remember there are people who give so our dreams can become reality.”
Turning dreams into realities is what the foundation and college are all about, according to CCCC President Bud Marchant, who was attending his first Scholarship Banquet since becoming president in August.
“This is an absolutely fabulous occasion,” he told the gathering. “When you donors look around this room, you see how important what you do is. It’s helping the next generation that will live and work in and guide this community. I am so proud to be associated with CCCC. This college wouldn’t be the same place if you hadn’t taken it into your hearts and hands to help our students. Thank you.”
Marchant said there were many stories in the room. Among them were:
- Jazmine Murphy, of Dunn, who is enrolled in the college’s Laser and Photonics Technology program. The Harnett County Student Scholarship is helping her meet expenses.
“I come from a single-parent home,” she said. “It would have been very difficult to go to college without the scholarship.”
The scholarship she received is a unique one, funded by monies raised through an annual auction of furniture and other items created by the college’s carpentry and welding student inmates at the Harnett Correctional Institution.
“The inmates came up with the idea of the scholarship,” said carpentry instructor Edward Taylor. “They wanted to put something back into society.”
- Brittany Fields, of Bear Creek, said that she is attending college with the help of the CCCC Trustee Scholarship. She plans to enroll in the dental hygiene program.
“It was a great honor to get the scholarship,” she said. “It has really helped out and I’m thankful to have it.”
- Dental hygiene student Emily Patterson, of Broadway, was the recipient of both the Worth E. and Mary S. Perry Scholarship and the South River Electric Membership Corporation Scholarship. At the banquet, she sat next to donor Mary Perry and expressed her thanks for helping her to afford college.
Perry put her arm around Patterson and said, “I’m so excited. It’s such an honor for me to provide this scholarship.”
Currently, the foundation manages about 130 scholarships, with an endowment value of about $2 million. Almost 200 students received scholarships through the foundation for the 2008-09 college year.
George Womble, foundation vice president, said that he got involved with the foundation because he saw the well-trained workers the college educated for his business. He encouraged the scholarship recipients, as they go into the workforce, to donate scholarship funds to the foundation to help students who come behind them achieve their dreams.