HANCEVILLE, Ala. — Hundreds of Wallace State Future Foundation supporters helped make dreams come true Wednesday for multiple Wallace State Community College students by raising around $215,000 for scholarships at the 11th annual Student Investment Luncheon and Auction held at Tom Drake Coliseum.
Supporters enjoyed a catered lunch served to them by thankful students who are currently Future Foundation scholarship recipients. Supporters also viewed a video featuring Wallace State students, thanking the donors for making their dreams come true. The annual silent and live auction was also conducted at the event.
For the students helping to serve meals and manning the bidding tables, the event is a way to give back and an opportunity to see and meet the people who support the Foundation’s scholarship programs from which they’ve benefitted.
Ashton Gaddy of Jacksonville is a member of the Lion Leaders program, a new group established through the Alumni Association and Future Foundation through which students earn scholarship money and assist the college at events like the luncheon. The $500 she received through the Lion Leader scholarship is greatly appreciated, she said, because it can pay for most of her books for one semester.
“They are a tremendous blessing,” Gaddy said of the scholarships she has received. She is also the recipient of a Leadership Scholarship. “It’s something I prayed about while I was searching for a college; I wanted to know how I was going to pay for it. To be able to receive one and to know that they are out there, it means a ton.”
Gaddy, a freshman, is working on her Associate in Science degree in General Studies in anticipation of entering the Wallace State Diagnostic Medical Sonography program. She is also a walk-on outfielder for the Wallace State softball team.
Another Lion Leader, Matthew Bell of Cullman, is also a freshman and will enter the Wallace State Nursing program in the Spring semester. Along with the Lion Leader scholarship, Bell received an Academic Excellence scholarship. He said the scholarships give him more financial freedom and are a reward for the effort he put forth to get good grades and qualify for scholarships.
“Thank you for everything you do and all of your donations,” Bell said of the donors supporting the Foundation. “Thanks for helping us out.”
James Arnold is a pre-pharmacy student at Wallace State. His Lion Leader, Jeremy Young and Academic Excellence scholarships make it possible for him to work toward his goal of being a pharmacist. “It would be very tough for me to come to college without these scholarships,” Arnold said. “I’m very thankful to the people who have donated so that I can go to college.”
Wallace State dual enrollment and Holly Pond High students Destiny Schultz and Olivia Williams are each taking a class this semester through scholarship money from the Foundation.
“I’m taking an English 101 class with the scholarship. It helps me a lot because if I didn’t have it, I wouldn’t be able to pay for the class. I’m the oldest child in a single-parent home, and we just wouldn’t have the money,” said Schultz, who hopes to one day major in education. “I’m glad to be here today to show our support for such a great program.”
Williams is also currently enrolled in an English 101 class via the Foundation scholarship program.
“The Future Foundation scholarship money has helped tremendously. There are seven people living in my house, and my sister is in college, so any assistance is very much appreciated,” Williams said.
Wallace State nursing student Matthew Huddleston, a 2013 Cullman High graduate, has earned the Jim D. and Mattie Moody Nursing Scholarship since he enrolled in college in August 2013. Wallace State’s Melissa Arnold, now a math instructor, was instrumental in making Huddleston aware of the scholarship opportunity.
“Words can’t express how thankful I am to have a scholarship like this. It makes things so manageable, which is very, very nice. Until Mrs. Arnold told me, I wasn’t aware of the Foundation and how many people are involved,” Huddleston said. “I’m very thankful they have believed enough in me for this scholarship.”
The supporters attending the luncheon were well aware of the reason they were attending Wednesday’s event. In her invocation, Foundation board member Shirley Quattlebaum expressed her thanks for “the generosity of the benefactors and educators who have changed so many students’ lives and given us the community of Cullman that we enjoy now.”
Foundation board vice president Jason Spann credits the scholarships he earned to attend junior college for changing his life. Growing up as one of three children in a blue-collar family and losing his father at 15, he didn’t think college would be an option. He joined the military in hopes of paying for college after his service. But even that wasn’t enough to pay for college. “I had somebody step in in my life, just like we’re doing here today, and I applied for a scholarship and I got it through an association that I support today, and that changed my life,” he said. “So that’s why we’re here today, to change the lives of these students here at Wallace State.”
“We’re here today to make dreams come true,”’ said Future Foundation board president Scotty Hooper. “We’re going to make an investment in our future, in our kids’ future, and I just thank everyone for coming today.”
Hooper announced new endowed scholarships, which are scholarships that have reached $25,000 or more in contributions. The new donations announced included:
- The Warren Family Endowed Scholarship Fund, to honor Perry, Wade, Wes and the late Whit Warren, by an anonymous donor.
- Mike Duke Memorial Endowed Scholarship, honoring longtime CFO Mike Duke, who passed away earlier this year, by Cullman Savings Bank.
- Cullman Area State Farm Agency Endowed Scholarship, by Katherine Morgan, Tonya Wilson and Shirley Quattlebaum, to be matched equally by State Farm Insurance.
Also recognized was Rep. Randall Shedd, for $5,000 toward dual enrollment scholarships for students in his district, and all of the sponsors who made the day’s event possible.
Wallace State Director of Advancement Suzanne Harbin was thrilled with another great turnout at of one of the college’s most successful events.
“The thing I liked the best was the video presentation, which showcased our students and allowed them to tell their story. It’s really hard for us to sit up here and tell their story or what they’ve said to us about how appreciative they are about receiving a scholarship. The students were able to share in the video just how much the financial burden had been lifted. That’s what the Foundation is here to do,” Harbin said. “We couldn’t have done this without our incredible group of and faculty and staff who come over and volunteer. The Foundation board also carries a big load by making sure we have table sponsors and contributors.”
A future pheasant hunt with former Auburn great Bo Jackson was the top item in the live auction. The 2-day, 1-night trip is scheduled for Chicago in 2016. The next highest purchase was a four-ticket package to the LSU-Alabama game in Tuscaloosa on Nov. 7.