Contributing to the general scholarship fund makes a lasting impact on students’ lives. Those individuals who may not have the opportunity to attend school and continue their education are able to do so because of our generous donors and supporters. In 2011-12, CGCC Foundation awarded over $134,000 in scholarships to 114 students.
Words cannot express how the foundation scholarship has made a difference for me as I am raising teenagers solely on my husband’s income, and life continues to happen while I am attending school.
Due to our nation’s economic downturn, my family relocated to Hood River. After 20 years of building a lifestyle, my husband, myself and our three teenage daughters, had to start over. Like many American families, we began downsizing and cutting back on our budget. I chose at that time to use our circumstances of relocating to attain my dream of a college degree. I began taking classes here a CGCC in the spring term of 2010, and at the recommendation of the foundation, in the fall of 2010 I began my journey as a volunteer firefighter.
By the end of the 2011/2012 academic year, I will be within a few credits of completing my Associate of General Studies degree here at Columbia Gorge Community College. I have found that I enjoy college, and even though balancing school, family and my community volunteer activities has been challenging, I am excited to be within a few terms of reaching my education goals. In January this year, I completed the Fire Academy training for the Hood River Fire Department. This last spring I completed my EMR certification along with becoming a certified CPR instructor so as to provide services through the Hood River Volunteer Association.
Currently I am a volunteer Firefighter 1 for the City of Hood River and Westside Fire departments. This academic year I am working on my EMT license and I will be applying for a Paramedic program this upcoming spring.
I have been deeply grateful and blessed that I have received scholarships from Columbia Gorge Community College Foundation. Words cannot express how it has made a difference for me as I am raising teenagers solely on my husband’s income, and life continues to happen while I am attending school. Although I have the perseverance to complete my education and reach my career goals, the scholarships that I have received this year have allowed me to focus on my studies in order to pursue my dreams.
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A proud graduate with an Associate's degree from CGCC planning to transfer to Southern Oregon University for a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education.
Hi, my name is Melissa Morelli. I spent most of my teen years living in Boardman, Ore., and went to high school at Riverside Jr./Sr. High school. In the last three years, I found myself going back to my roots: Moving back to Maupin, Ore., to live (due to a traumatic family health issues). When this happened, I transferred to CGCC for the 10-11 school year. The Foundation Scholarship was incredibly beneficial to my education this year! Winter term I received a four credit scholarship. This paid for a class elective that literally changed my life. I declared a major in Elementary Education after this term. The second term (spring), I received a full tuition scholarship. With this expense paid, it finally allowed me to move back into my own apartment. The third term (summer) a partial foundation scholarship helped pay for some of my last credits for an associate's degree.
Now, I'm a proud graduate of an associate's degree from Columbia Gorge Community College. Fall of 2011, I'm transferring to Southern Oregon University to start a teaching matrix in order to complete a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education. I'm excited for what the future holds, and I'm extremely thankful for the financial funding I received from the Foundation Scholarships in helping get me this far.
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A second year student plans to enter the nursing program and see you at MCMC in a few years.
I am Terra Kirby, a second year student of CGCC with aspirations to enter the nursing program in the fall of 2012. I was born and raised in The Dalles, and I graduated from Wahtonka High in 1998. Last year, I was a recipient of a full-year CGCC Foundation Scholarship. And, I cannot express how much difference it made for me, allowing me to maintain straight A's in my classes and empowering me to put forth that extra effort that will help me become the best nurse I possibly can. See you at MCMC in a few years!
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"Thank you to everyone who has been in my life since that first decision to walk into CGCC."
I'm originally from Flora, Indiana, where corn, soybeans and hogs are king. I spent five years in the U.S. Army before traveling to Europe and Fort Lewis, Wash. I moved to Goldendale, Wash., five years ago due to my wife’s health problems. Her name is Susan. She is a two-time cancer survivor and has now developed epilepsy; hence, we moved to Goldendale, where it is more affordable to live and life is a little slower. I also have three grown children: One girl married into the U.S. Air Force in New York and two boys are in the U.S. Air Force stationed in U.A.E and Afghanistan.
Prior to living in Goldendale, driving commercial vehicles took me world-wide. I've been in almost every state, as well as Kuwait, UAE and Iraq. In Iraq, I drove fuel tankers for KBR who was contracted to the U.S. Army. After driving for so many years and living a hard style of life, I began developing some health problems.
I really enjoy helping people and realized there are six hospitals within fifty miles of Goldendale. Plus, there are six nurses in my church who encouraged me to pursue nursing. A friend at church had told me about FAFSA, and I never gave it another thought until about a month later when I gave my daughter-in-law’s sister a ride to CGCC for an appointment. I wanted to go inside, just to look around, and that’s when I met Sara Viemeister, the Financial Aid Specialist. She asked me if I needed help, and within 30 minutes she had me signed up for a placement test for the next day and orientation the day after that day! She helped me understand the amount of financial aid available to me. Who knew? Thank you to everyone who has been in my life since that first decision to walk into CGCC.
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"The college is so unique from other large community colleges and universities...We are like family here."
Michelle Cochran, of Hood River, graduated from Columbia Gorge Community College in 2011 Spring with an Associate's degree in general studies and an Associate of Science degree. She is attending Eastern Oregon University and Oregon State University in order to complete a Bachelor of Science and graduate degree in communications and psychology. Because of her passion for people and learning, Michelle's career aspirations include serving students at a community college through academic advising, student life and leadership and eventually administration.
Her story is not simple. Michelle and her family have overcome many life obstacles, but she has kept a positive outlook on everything and certainly shares a big smile. Michelle started at CGCC after high school but left for an office assistant job in The Dalles when she realized she was not ready to focus on her education. However, she always knew she would be college-bound. Michelle decided to come back to school in 2008, while still working full-time and planning her high school reunion. In 2009, she was laid off from her job. Instead of worrying, Michelle saw this situation as an opportunity. She decided to join the student honor society, Phi Theta Kappa, and eventually she became its president. Michelle embraced the chance to serve students, the college and our community.
"I wanted students to be more aware of their educational experiences. You can learn so much by getting involved in campus and community."
In 2010, Michelle became sick. What she thought was a minor pneumonia turned out to be congested heart failure. Translation: Michelle was going to need open heart surgery. Through this time, Michelle received a large amount of cards, wishing her well, from students and faculty/staff at the college.
"The college is so unique from other large community colleges and universities. As a student, I was exposed to great learning opportunities and an atmosphere where I could get to know faculty, staff, and students, and really feel a sense of community. We are like family here."
Michelle appreciated her experiences at the college as much as the college loved having her leadership and laughter to foster a caring and fun learning environment.
"The Foundation gave me so much, assisting with a full-year scholarship and rewarding me the student excellence award, and I felt it was important to give back to the Foundation. As a student leader in Phi Theta Kappa, I was able to encourage, organize, and execute fund-raisers that benefit the student scholarship fund for CGCC Foundation. Our work can help give those students a chance, a chance that scholarship donors gave me."
Michelle is married to Shaun Cochran, of Hood River. Both Michelle and Shaun's families are from the Hood River area.
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I need to support my family and lift us out of poverty, and I am doing it with pride, knowing that I am the person in my family to attend college.
I found that being a recipient of a Columbia Gorge Community College scholarship allowed me to focus more on my educational goals while worrying less about my struggles financially as a mother to five young children. I feel that I was able to take more classes and to progress more quickly towards my goal of applying for and entering into the excellent nursing program here at CGCC than I would have been able to without the opportunity afforded me by this wonderful scholarship. The feeling of pride this has given me has really helped increase my self-confidence because I was never encouraged to attend college when I was growing up with a drug addicted single mother. Now I am attending college and setting a great example for my children. I am excited to be one year closer to graduating with the skills and degree I need to support my family and lift us out of poverty, and I am doing it with pride knowing that I am the first person in my family to attend college.
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