On May 22, more than 200 attendees filled the Sylvania Campus Performing Arts Center with shouts of encouragement and cries of joy.
During the Future Connect Scholarship Awards Ceremony, about 80 students accepted their awards into the PCC program. Eventually, this 2013-14 cohort will consist of 275 new scholarship recipients from three regions – 200 from Multnomah County, 50 from Hillsboro and 25 from Beaverton. In addition, 15 current Future Connect student leaders from previous cohorts are serving as ambassadors for the new group.
“The award ceremony is always special because it shows our new students and their families how many people in this community are supporting them,” said Josh Laurie, Future Connect manager. “I love it because students, their families and PCC staff come together in one place all to show support for these amazing students.”
The ceremony featured a welcome by Jessica Howard (Southeast/Extended Learning Campus president) as well as congratulations from program partners Amanda Fritz (Portland commissioner) and Steve Calaway (Hillsboro city councilor). Other remarks came from Kali Thorne Ladd (PCC board member), Jennie Cha (student speaker) and Chris Neilsen (chair of the PCC Foundation board).
Future Connect Scholars are graduating high school seniors with barriers to going to college who have high potential to succeed. The vast majority of scholarship recipients are first-generation college students. With support from the cities of Portland, Hillsboro and Beaverton, Portland Community College, the PCC Foundation, and private donors, these students will receive scholarship support and dedicated coaching to earn a degree and achieve their dreams.
“What is unique is that we have students who are all graduating from separate schools around the region but now are coming together to be apart of this extended family that is Future Connect,” Laurie added.