The Albuquerque Community Foundation recently awarded more than $160,000 in scholarships and aid to New Mexican college students and recent high school graduates. About 60 of over 100 recipients attended a ceremony Friday at the Journal’s auditorium to receive recognition for their achievements.
The foundation has been distributing scholarship funds for over 30 years, according to Foundation president and CEO Randy Royster. However, this is only the third year that a related event has been held. The group’s board of trustees includes Journal publisher, president and CEO William P. Lang.
Scholarship winners and their families were provided with lunch, after which students were called up to receive a certificate and the small gift of a cell phone wallet. The student awards are sent directly to their schools.
“It’s just a nice way to get them interested them in philanthropy really early,” said Denise Nava, the scholarship coordinator for the foundation who started the event in 2015. “It was something I wanted to do to engage young people.”
The awards the students receive, some of which are renewable over several years, ranged in value from $500 to $2,500, said Nava. They were provided by 18 programs whose funds are managed by the foundation. Recipient winners are determined by a committee assembled by the foundation.
One of the 18 programs was the Sussman-Miller Educational Assistance Fund, which fills gaps in college aid that students receive from other sources. Nava said that awards granted through the program this year totaled about $40,000 that was divided up among over 40 individuals.
“It’s a terrific award designed to benefit a lot of people, and it’s an honor (to receive it) to say the least,” said DeShawn Vaughan, one of the recipients.
Some of the awards were given to “nontraditional” college students, including the Trythall Family Scholarship for Excellence in Continuing Education. The scholarship was started by Barbara and Duane Trythall as a way to help students who work more than 20 hours a week. Such individuals can include those who are above the traditional college student’s age. For example, the Trythalls said that one of this year’s three winners has taken couple of the same classes as her son at Central New Mexico Community College.
All of the award winners seemed excited by their achievement.
“The first time I got it, I was just crying I was so happy,” said Naudiea Davis, who received the Carl F. Scott Scholarship for Tucumcari Lodge #27 A.F. & A.M. for the third time this year, the first and two renewals. “It was really like having a dream come true.”