A large number of scholarship donors and student recipients were honored at the Annual BRTC Foundation Scholarship Luncheon held in the Randolph County Development Center April 16. The event is designed to acknowledge businesses and individuals who make financial contributions for scholarships, along with the students who are the recipients of those scholarships, according to Dina Hufstedler, event coordinator. Leigh Ann Gibson, VP of Sales at Pocahontas Aluminum Company, served as guest speaker.
Foundation Board Chair Ruth Ann Ellis welcomed the guests who enjoyed food prepared by BRTC’s Dietetics Department and entertainment provided by BRTC’s Kimbrough Choir under the direction of Joniece Trammel and accompanied by Glenda Blassini. Foundation Board member Mike Dunn gave the invocation. Dr. Jan Ziegler, VP for Development, and Dr. Wayne Hatcher, President, acknowledged the scholarship donors and scholarship recipients.
Highlighting the event were brief presentations by four student spokespersons: Stephanie Brech and Carmen Cummings of Pocahontas, Justin Beck of Rector, and Lisa Cook of Paragould. Each shared their story and gave thanks to the donors for helping to make their education possible, and each expressed their hope of one day being able to help others with the same generosity that was given to them. “Many of us in the audience had watery eyes as we listened to the students tell their stories,” said Hufstedler. “It was touching to hear about the challenges they have faced and their appreciation for those who helped them overcome those challenges, including the donors who helped pave the way for their education.”
Gibson followed up on their stories by sharing her own story of overcoming obstacles and challenges, and the fact that she, too, could not have done it without the help and support of others. “Over the years, I have come to realize that no matter how hard you try to do something on your own, without asking for help, you just can’t do it,” said Gibson. “Everyone needs help in even the smallest of ways.”
“When I was diagnosed with cancer in March of 2010,” Gibson continued, “it only took me about three seconds to realize that ‘I can’t go through this alone.’ Without the support that I received, I could not have been so positive and determined. As we all struggle with life on a day to day basis, it is very rewarding to know that people have not given up on the challenge of helping others. As in my life – with struggles of school, work, being a wife, being a mother and battling cancer – I never could have done any of it without support and help from others.”
“Be proud of what you have here at BRTC,” Gibson added. “And, more importantly, remember that gifts can go an extremely long way. Through encouragement, advice, instruction and even monetary support, this college and its students will be a pinnacle aspect of all our lives in this community and to others as we celebrate these scholars and especially the donors that make this all happen.”
The event concluded with student scholarship recipient Dillon Varner of Delaplaine winning a new 32 GB 8.9” HP Kindle Fire courtesy of an anonymous donor. The giveaway was an added surprise at the end of the event, and Varner held the ‘winning’ program.