5th annual breakfast celebrates Future Foundation scholarship recipients, donors

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Wallace State Future Foundation Executive Director Suzanne Harbin with student Alleah Welch, the recipient of the Jim D. and Mattie Moody Endowed Scholarship and the Sonya Hembree Memorial Scholarship

HANCEVILLE – The Wallace State Community College Future Foundation matched students who received foundation scholarships with the donors who funded those scholarships during a special celebratory breakfast at Wallace State last week. The event is scheduled each year during the lead-up to graduation.

During this year’s fifth annual Scholarship Celebration Breakfast, Foundation president Jason Spann announced the awarding of more than $205,000 in named, endowed and Foundation scholarships to 135 students, double the amount awarded last year.

“Our story begins with you,” Wallace State President Dr. Vicki Karolewics told the guests in attendance. “The story of each student awarded today will begin or continue here at Wallace State because of the generosity of donors like you.  Today’s event celebrates the success of these students, while honoring those who choose to give and to make their success a reality. We are eternally grateful to all of our donors who give throughout the year to support Wallace State and the Future Foundation.”

Suzanne Harbin, executive director of the Future Foundation, said they received more than 200 scholarship applications, and were able to grant approximately 65 percent of those requests.

“We feel so passionately about being able to help students complete their educational goals,” Harbin said. “We work really hard to fund as many scholarships as we possibly can, based both on need and on merit.”

In keeping with a tradition set in past years, the group heard from both a scholarship donor and a recipient.

Lt. Capt. Aaorn Matthis, who flies for American Eagle, provided the donor remarks. He received word he was being promoted to captain before the event and said that speaking at the breakfast was a “full circle moment.”

Matthis, 22, was the recipient of the Richard Caretti Aviation Technology Scholarship when he was a student in the flight program at Wallace State several years ago. He has since established his own scholarship, the Aaron J. Matthis Future Professional Flight Scholarship.

“Wallace State offered much more for me,” he said. Not only was the college tuition and the cost of living more affordable than university programs, even for the flight program which has the added cost of air time requirements, but also, he was able to offset some of that cost with his scholarship, and the facilities, equipment, and faculty and staff were top notch, he said.

“There’s no better feeling than signing in to register, and finding a scholarship credit on your account,” he said. “It helped me and my parents.” His mother reminded him later how fortunate he was to have received that scholarship.

“Wallace State provided everything I needed to go from zero to hero,” he said. “Being back here has been amazing.”

Matthis presented the first scholarship awarded in his name to flight student Lindzey Hughes at the event.

Alleah Welch, the recipient of the Jim D. and Mattie Moody Endowed Scholarship and the Sonya Hembree Memorial Scholarship, offered a scholarship recipient testimonial. She is majoring in nursing.

Welch explained that she was a single teenage mother, who wouldn’t have been able to dream of a college education without the support the Foundation has provided.

She thanked the foundation and her donors for recognizing the worth of investing in those “who may not come from great wealth but who are wealthy in our hearts,” and who have a desire to learn and to serve.

The Wallace State Future Foundation is in the midst of a Major Gifts Campaign and more than two-thirds of its way toward its goal of raising $5 million for scholarships. To date, the Foundation has established 45 endowed scholarships, which require investments over five years of $25,000 or more, and 89 named funds and scholarships, which may be established with gifts of any amount.

The Foundation has already awarded more than 2,000 scholarships valued at $1.5 million.

In addition to the Scholarship Fund, the Major Gifts Campaign includes fundraising for instructional technology, an entrepreneurship center and a Lion Legacy fund, which is a best use fund that will be used to address unbudgeted needs, such as setting up training for a new or expanding business or industry.

In addition to Spann, members of the Foundation Board of Directors include Danny Kelly, Cheryl Bailey, Leah Bolin, Tim Compton, Dr. Jim Davis, Dr. T.J. Franey, Dale Greer, Donna Guthrie, Scotty Hooper, Don Hubbard, Billy Jackson, Shirley Quattlebaum, John Riley, Bill St. John, Dr. Tomesa Smith, Retha Tinney, Lisa Weeks, Jason White, Board Members Emeriti – Betty Haynes and Fred Cespedes and Dr. Vicki Karolewics – Wallace State president.

For more information about the Wallace State Future Foundation, visit www.wsccfuturefoundation.org or call Suzanne Harbin at 256-352-8144.