The River Parishes Community College Foundation held a reception Thursday, February 17, 2011, at Houmas House in Gonzales to thank its donors for their generosity in helping the Foundation raise more than $130,000 in cash contributions and pledges in its first Annual Fund Campaign. The reception featured a full program of speeches, including testimonials from current and former RPCC students about how their experiences at RPCC have been enhanced by Foundation scholarships.
Two of the student speakers enrolled at RPCC after already achieving baccalaureate degrees. Jason Green, a current RPCC student, spoke at the reception about enrolling in RPCC’s process technology program. Green remarked that he had enrolled in the process technology program to help him land a better job.
Green also thanked individual and corporate donors for new computer technology being used in the process technology program. This technology also facilitates learning in additional programs such as drafting and instrumentation using state-of-the-art simulation training.
Tanya Morris, the second speaker, returned to RPCC after earning a bachelor of science in nursing. Morris liked her RPCC experience while transition from LPN-to-RN coursework so much that she returned for another degree, which she earns this May. Morris still manages to remain busy. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in nursing while earning her associate degree from RPCC. Morris remarked that she never realized the opportunities that education can give.
KaLee Hodgeson is another recipient of the scholarship who achieved her degree from RPCC. Hodgeson received her Associate of Science in Teaching (AST) degree from RPCC in 2008. She became the first AST graduate to achieve her 4-year degree when she graduated from LSU in May 2010. She currently teaches fifth grade in Baton Rouge.
Fellow RPCC student and featured speaker Jessica Snider also spoke of her RPCC experience. A Hurricane Katrina transplant, Snider received an RPCC Foundation scholarship, which allows her to take business classes at night while working in the family business.
“After dealing with that catastrophe, I know what it means to be thankful when others come together to help one another,” said Snider.
Snider was so grateful for the scholarship she received that she wrote a thank you letter to the RPCC Foundation donors.
“Thanks to the help of RPCC Foundation and their members, I am able to attend college,” the letter said. “This award has also given me the incentive to try even harder to achieve my goals.”
Some of Snider’s goals include earning a degree and giving back to the community.
The RPCC Foundation doubled the number of scholarships awarded to RPCC students in fiscal year 2010. Fourteen students received scholarships in the Fall of 2009, and 18 students received scholarships in the Spring of 2010.
The RPCC Foundation will also provide students and faculty with the opportunity to study abroad. Last summer, students and faculty participated in the Salzburg Global Seminar on international relations, world economics and politics in Salzburg, Austria. The seminar featured international speakers and topics, such as the current situation in Darfur. Participants also toured the Dachau Concentration Camp.
Nicole Cromer, a current RPCC student and seminar participant, saw the Holocaust in a different light. “I read about it in the history books, but that was as real as it got, until that day when I was walking through the camp,” Cromer said.
The Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS) sponsored the trip last year, and the RPCC Foundation will fund the trip for RPCC students beginning this year.