During spring semester, few days are more joyous than the annual scholarship luncheon. At this special event, Montgomery College’s aspiring teachers, nurses, scientists, and business owners have the opportunity to do something they ask about year-round—thank the donors who support them in fulfilling their dreams. In turn, donors get to meet the students who are benefitting from the scholarships they kindly support.
“The personal relationship cultivated between donor and student during this event often continues beyond the luncheon, and it provides opportunities for students that they may never have imagined were possible,” said Carol Rognrud, executive director of the Montgomery College Foundation.
Dina Haddad, an aspiring doctor, was the student speaker, representing all of the grateful scholarship recipients in the room. “I know many of the donors here have children of their own to educate which makes your willingness to educate the children of others that much more meaningful,” she told the crowd. Haddad is the recipient of a Healthcare Initiative Foundation scholarship which will support her through the completion of her bachelor’s degree.
Here are some reflections from some of the other scholarship winners and donors:
Education major and aspiring teacher Dordaneh Eslaminejad received the Potomac Lions Club Foundation Iranian Students Scholarship. “[The scholarship] is another opportunity to get closer to my dream … it will help me taste what my future is going to be like.” Eslaminejad is the first member of her family to graduate high school and to attend college.
Nathali Martinez is the recipient of the Healthcare Initiative Foundation ADN-to-BSN Nursing Scholarship. “The scholarship opens a lot of doors,” she says. “It is hard to pay for college. You have to work to be in school or you have to have extra money saved.” Martinez, originally from Bolivia, is the first in her family to attend college. Her goal is to be a nurse practitioner.
David Bradford is the recipient of two scholarships: the John and Ada Thorpe Endowed Scholarship and the Visit Montgomery Hospitality Scholarship. “I am studying hospitality management and would like to own my own hotel, but regardless of what I do, I want to be happy,” he said.
Donors Anita McRae-Williams and her mother, Dorothy McRae, have attended the scholarship luncheon for several years. McRae-Williams says the day is always “bittersweet.” The McRae family endowed a scholarship for students studying business and management in memory of her brother, Laval Scotty McRae, who passed away in 2008. He worked at Montgomery College as a human resources specialist in the Employee and Labor Relations Office.
The family has also endowed two additional scholarships: the M.E. Davis, MD/McRae Family Students with Disabilities Scholarship and the Dorothy L.V. McRae Scholarship for nursing students. Dorothy McRae worked as a nurse.
McRae-Williams says giving to Montgomery College is “truly a family effort,” but she also has help from friends and sorority sisters. “Many of them never met my brother, but after hearing me talk about all these luncheons, they want to do something,” she said.
Brian Gaines is CEO of the MDBio Foundation; the organization provides biotechnology scholarships to Montgomery College students. “We believe the students of today will make the scientific and technological breakthroughs of tomorrow. We believe the students of Montgomery College are going to be the folks who are going to be entrepreneurs, the ones who are going to cure cancer, and to break the code for cybersecurity, and we want to support that.”
Gaines also said, “We believe that helping support the next generation will change the world.”
For more information about scholarships and helping students, click here.