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May 2, 2012

Education Dollars & FCC Scholars

Norman M. Covert

Frederick Community College has matured as one of the nation’s top two-year institutions. Its techno-equipped campus was on display last Friday at the new student center, where scholarship benefactors were recognized for making education a reality for more than 800 students.


The FCC Foundation, Inc., which manages endowments, also matched scholarship winners with donors at a second gathering in the field house.


Interim President Doug D. Browning announced the FCC Board Room has been named in honor of the late Chris T. Mathews. Dale T. Summer, chairman of the FCC Foundation board, then presented “The Eagle Award” to Mrs. Mathews and the Chris and Mary Lee Mathews Family Foundation, which sponsors a nurse scholarship and a science and engineering grant.


Mr. Mathews is credited with encouraging and overseeing transition of the college from its original status as a function of the Frederick County Board of Education. FCC was established as Frederick Junior College in 1957, according to amateur historian John Ashbury. He reported it became a separate entity, opening its Opossumtown Pike campus under Mr. Mathews’ guidance in 1971.


Current FCC Board of Directors Chairman Dixie L. Miller noted she was student representative to the FCC board when it opened the doors that year.


Part of the program of the Donor/Scholar Recognition Reception included two students offering thanks to their benefactors. Jonathan E. Drake, awarded the Rotary Club of Frederick scholarship, spoke of riding his bicycle from downtown to attend the two classes he could afford three years ago. Today he is a full-time student looking forward to matriculating at a four-year college.


Kandy Joseph-Alexander spoke of being a full-time mother with her dreams realized because of scholarship awards making it possible to pursue her clinical certification in social work.


The foundation invited my veterans group, Frederick/Carroll Voiture 155, Society of the 40/8, to take part because of its nurses training scholarship. The National Society adopted nurses training in 1956 to help alleviate the nationwide shortage of caregivers.


Voiture 155 also endows a scholarship at Carroll County Community College (CCCC).


Jim Beckman, who leads Voiture 155 as chef de Gare (commander), attended and I was invited as “Directeur” of Nurses Training.


Previously the local 40/8 scholarship committee had difficulty attracting candidates when it presented two $500 scholarships. The FCC Foundation solved that dilemma two years ago by accepting the mission to make students aware and screen them to make final selection for today’s $1,000 award.


Both college foundations accepted the 40/8 scholarship criteria. It requires applicants to have completed their first two years of academic work and to have been accepted into a Registered Nurse Certification program. The winner must be an outstanding student with a record of community service. Financial need was the last criterion.


Voiture-sponsored and FCC-trained nurses serve at the Maryland Shock Trauma Unit, Baltimore, Frederick Memorial Hospital’s emergency facility and operating rooms and medical/surgical ward, Shady Grove Adventist Hospital’s neo-natal intensive care unit, Carroll County Hospital, and at a leading specialty/teaching hospital in Denver, CO.


First-year nursing student Katrina Reggio joined us at table 46. She is one of two winners of the Regina C. Munshour Nursing Scholarship. She was the only nurse scholar attending at our table.


Ms. Reggio mentioned her initial goal of working in the psychiatric/behavioral sciences field. She noted the difficulty of working, going to school, paying household bills and maintaining top grades.


The Munshour scholarship helped make it possible, she said, agreeing the $1,000 grant we provide over two semesters “almost” pays for books and professional supplies.


Some 50 scholarships are available for students in all specialties in the top-rated FCC medical professionals program.


We were disappointed our scholar was unable to attend and receive the nurse’s cap and pin reserved for her, but Ms. Reggio’s enthusiasm for the future – and determination to apply for our scholarship as well – sent us home with warm fuzzies.


Among other observations:


·        FCC Foundation Executive Director Christopher Massi emceed both events, pointing out each table had directions for learning about and applying for scholarships on line. The deadline to apply is May 31, 2012.


·        Officials noted 25 scholarships were not awarded! These may have been newly established, underfunded because of losses in the economic downturn, or no applicants met the criteria.


·        Congressman Roscoe G. Bartlett (R., 6th MD) and his wife, Ellen, were recognized. He is sponsor of a scientific scholarship, which was awarded to Alexander J. Kordell.


·        Who wouldn’t have expected former Frederick News-Post publisher George Delaplaine and “Aunt Bettie” Delaplaine to be recognized for their continuing support of FCC. They were greeted warmly by all.


·        Two former FCC presidents are reflected in scholarship endowments. Dr. Lee Betts and his wife Marjorie are honored in two – one established by Buckingham’s Choice Retirement Community; the second by Dr. Betts. Winners this year included David Perez and Andriana Roa, respectively.


In addition, former President Dr. Patricia Stanley and husband Phillip endowed their Excellence and Leadership Award, presented to Stephanie Merrill.


·        We watched a couple scholars sitting alone at tables because benefactors or their representatives didn’t show, which is not what the foundation envisioned. However, Director Massi made sure he visited those tables to congratulate them and take pictures with their cameras. It was a class move!


The receptions showcased FCC and students to advantage. More than that, it assured us the community remains committed and fully involved in education and opportunity.


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