Scholars focused on careers in business, education saluted with first GRCC Foundation Board of Directors Excellence Scholarships

Two incoming Grand Rapids Community College students will start their higher education journey debt-free after being selected for a new GRCC Foundation scholarship through a partnership with local districts.

Gabriel Gloria, a Jenison High School senior, and Sophia Vincent, a Caledonia High School senior, are the first recipients of the GRCC Foundation Board of Directors Excellence Scholarships.

The award covers tuition and all fees associated with registered classes for a full academic year. High school counselors nominated students, with one student each from Kent and Ottawa counties, receiving the scholarship. Counselors were asked to consider academics and a variety of factors including barriers and obstacles the student has faced, involvement in community service, and leadership activities or qualities.

“This has proven to be a wonderful partnership with counselors in West Michigan schools,” said Dr. Kathryn Mullins, vice president of College Advancement and executive director of the GRCC Foundation. “Our foundation board members know very well the struggles our students face and are thrilled that this new scholarship offers another way to help them attain a life-changing education.”

Gloria plans to study finance and business administration at GRCC. For him, the new scholarship is important to keeping his college experience debt-free.

“I’m humbled and appreciative of the fact that my high school counselor felt that I was deserving of this prestigious award,” said Gloria, who plans to continue working part time for Meijer. “I was extremely excited and blown away by the generosity of this scholarship and what it will provide.”

Vincent will major in early childhood education at GRCC.

“This year, another student and I committed to devoting our afterschool time on Monday nights to assist a local elementary school teacher in setting up her classroom, cleaning, and creating lesson plans,” said Vincent, who has also worked as a nanny and swim instructor. “This not only liberates her of stress and time but also enables us to gain more experience in the early education field.”

The GRCC Foundation plans to distribute $1.4 million in more than 300 scholarships this year to over 1,000 students. More information about the foundation – including ways to contribute to a life-changing GRCC education – can be found online.

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