Thursday, August 29, 2013
I recently attended a benefit dinner at the John Q Hammons Center in Rogers to honor and celebrate the brave students of the Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Benton County. The room was filled with men and women who have committed themselves to making better lives for their families by pursuing college degrees. I was thrilled to see JBU students among the recipients, award presenters, speakers, and graduate scholars fulfilling the call to "learn, earn, and return."
I work as a recruiter for the JBU Degree Completion Program. I have walked with many of these students and seen them overcome great challenges to pursue one of our degrees. I have helped them choose classes and make sound choices in order to align their educational and career plans.
I also serve on the SPSFBC advisory board as part of the team who interviews scholarship applicants. It is in this "rarified air" that I am invited to sit with other committed professionals and educators to hear these parents celebrate their children, describe their challenges and share their dreams. The team offers sage-like wisdom for life, valuable insight for educational planning, and vast amounts of encouragement to persevere. Everyone in the room is determined, hopeful, and eager to make a difference in Benton County.
That night, as I listened to the names being called and honors given, I was reminded of the challenges each must have faced in the past. I thought about what courage it must have taken to ask for help and the relief they felt when they received it. I was thankful each had the capacity to imagine better and a willingness to do the work to make it a reality. Children, proud of their mom or dad. A mom or dad confidently providing for their family. Our community, but stronger.
On this night, scholarship recipients were surrounded by a committed group of citizens willing to support them with amazing love and generosity. The night also demonstrated how fortunate our area is to have so many excellent educational options for students.
I am so proud of you single parents. Your success honors us all!
Senior Admissions Counselor