WHITPAIN – In honor of its sixth president’s inauguration, the Montgomery County Community College Foundation recently created 11 new Presidential Scholarships for students, focusing on first-generation college students. Three of these scholarships will be awarded in the 2021-22 academic year.
Millennium Challenge Center President Victoria El Pasteque Perez and her husband Santos created the first scholarship. As first-generation college graduates, creating this scholarship was personally important to them as they understand the impact of higher education on their lives.
“As first-generation students, it was important to me and my husband that we help future generations of students like us,” Bastecki-Perez said. “A quality education, like the education students receive every day here at Montgomery County Community College, opens the door for each of them to pursue their dreams. It is an honor and privilege for us to establish the first of these Presidential Scholarships.”
The MCCC’s initial goal was to create six scholarships to coincide with and honor Bastecki-Perez’s opening as sixth president of the college last spring. However, since many generous philanthropists were inspired by this call to action, five additional scholarships have since been established. In addition to the three Todi Foundation Distinguished Scholarships, the remaining Presidential Scholarships are made possible through the sponsorship of the Kunze Family, the Scott and Susan Bentley Fund, the Dental Health Advisory Committee, Robert H. Ken Baker and the Phoenixville Community Health Foundation.
“The Foundation is very excited about the Presidential Grants Initiative,” said Joseph Gallagher, Chairman of the Foundation’s Board of Directors. “This is a huge step forward in directly addressing the needs that Montcou students represent, which include first-generation scholars, full-time workers, single parents, and veterans, to name a few. Seeing so many generous people come forward to join this Initiative – it really illuminates the partnership between the community and our students.”
Each scholarship prefers to support first generation learners, but may also benefit students from certain academic programs, campus location, economic or social backgrounds, and more. These scholarships are endowments, which means that they will continually grow, providing much-needed funding to deserving students forever. Each year, selected students will have the opportunity to meet their sponsors as well as Bastecki-Perez at a meet-and-greet event as well as receive a certificate for the prestigious scholarship.
Students receiving the new scholarships say it helps lift weights off their shoulders.
“I’m really happy about that. It helps me a lot,” said Jessica Hill, a first-generation student, a recipient of the Dr. Pasteky-Perez Presidential Scholarship sponsored by the Dental Hygiene Advisory Committee. Me is useful. Instead of spending over 100 hours studying while also trying to work and get money to pay for exams, this scholarship gives me the opportunity to find time to study for exams and pass my boards the first time.”
“By awarding me the Dr. Pastiqui Perez Presidential Scholarship, you have eased my financial burden. It has allowed me to focus more on school, and the most important aspect of school, is learning,” Selena Lopez wrote in her thank-you letter. Lopez is also a first-generation student, sponsored by the Scott and Susan Bentley Fund. “Your generosity has inspired me to achieve more than I ever thought possible for myself. I hope one day I can help students and community members the way you helped me personally because it all starts somewhere.”
Since 1983, MCCC has provided scholarships for deserving students, grants for faculty, equipment and technology projects, emergency funds for students in need, support for on-campus cultural enrichment activities and financial resources for other college programs and activities.
MCCC awards more than 500 scholarships annually to students. In addition to undergraduate scholarships, there are many external scholarships available. Most scholarships do not require a separate application, subject to student files for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). For more information on grants and awards, visit https://www.mc3.edu/for-our-community/foundation/presidential-scholarship-initiative.