KCC shares appreciation for community

PUHI — More than $160,000 in scholarships were distributed to more than 350 students at Kaua‘i Community College, said Ken Curtis, a KCC faculty member who served as emcee.

“That’s about a third of our student population,” said KCC Chancellor Peggy Cha, as she thanked the donors and representatives of community organ-izations who provide the funds that enable students to receive scholarships and grants.

Cha was speaking at an annual scholarship reception Thursday afternoon at the college’s Fine Dining facility where culinary arts students waited anxiously for the guests to enjoy some of the refreshments they worked to prepare for the event.

“This event was designed so some of the students have an opportunity to meet the donors of their scholarships,” Curtis said. “It’s also an opportunity to honor the college’s outstanding Student Employee of the Year.”

Cha said “working students” are the norm at KCC and many other community colleges.

“It is through the generosity of the community that students are able to help themselves to better positions in the community through higher education,” Cha said. “We appreciate both the community supporters as well as our students.”

Cha said as more students take advantage of the educational opportunities being offered by community colleges, more lives get better.

“Community colleges are democracy’s college because it offers education for everyone through accessibility and location,” Cha said. “But this cannot happen without scholarship donors.”

One of the donors attending the reception was Anna Sloggett who celebrated her 100th birthday in September 2006.

In honor of that event, a scholarship for education students was created.

Cha paralleled the University of Hawai‘i’s ongoing celebration of its centennial with “Aunty Anna’s” birthday by saying the university is following in Anna’s footsteps.

“Anna’s endowment will go on for as long as KCC is here,” Cha said. “It gives beyond self.”

Elementary education student Camas Machado, one of the students present, thanked Sloggett for her generosity, noting that as a single parent of a 9-year-old son, Koa, balancing the financial needs of getting a college education and classroom work leaves little time for work to finance a family.

Nursing student Ketura Wood-Fink agreed.

“It’s very expensive to live here,” she said. “Trying to balance school and work is really tough. Without scholarships, many of the students would not be able to achieve their goals. We’re here today because of scholarships that you make possible.”

Robert Dickstein, representing the Rotary Club of Hanalei Bay, made a special presentation to the KCC Nursing program. Dickstein also represents the Rotary Club in spearheading a homegrown teachers program with Dr. Kani Blackwell.

Cha noted that KCC touts some of the finest student character she has worked with.

“These students are some of the finest on any campus,” Cha said. “They work hard and accomplish a great deal. I am proud to support their spirit that is Kaua‘i.”

With the help of Earl Nishiguchi, the KCC Dean of Student Services, Cha introduced the college’s candidates for student employee of the year.

Lisha Wu is one of the library support staff that came in at a time the learning center needed someone who could step in and keep the program running.

Wu fit the bill perfectly and has since expanded to take on responsibilities in other areas of the college library.

For her nomination, Wu received a gift certificate from the KCC bookstore as well as a wood pen created by KCC staff member Joe Vegas.

Similarly, Arvin Montgomery, who was selected as the Student Employee of the Year, received the bookstore certificate and Vegas-made pen.

Additionally, for his role in helping to keep the student lounge clean and in communicating the students’ views on improving the lounge and its offering’s to students, Montgomery was presented with a $50 Car Care gift as well as a tuition waiver valued at $750.

Montgomery’s name will be put on a perpetual trophy that will be displayed where he works until the next winner is announced.

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