Since I have worked at the Collegian, I have distributed papers to the Spitzer Center many times. Each time I have walked into and around the vast conference center I have felt out of place and underdressed. During the annual Parade of Scholars dinner not only was I invited and required to attend, but for once I felt that I belonged there.
Students, faculty, family, friends and donors were in attendance for the 2015 Parade of Scholars held by the Lorain County Community College Foundation on Oct. 6 at the John A. Spitzer Conference Center on LCCC’s main campus. The foundation holds the event to recognize student scholars, both LCCC students and those through the University Partnership, for their accomplishments and rewarding of various scholarships and awards.
Speakers at the dinner included LCCC President Dr. Roy A. Church, LCCC Foundation Board of Directors chairman Phil Baptiste, and Channel 3 WKYC-TV morning reporter Tiffany Tarpley; a Lorain native and LCCC alumni.
This year the LCCC Foundation made awards of over $630,000 to more than 600 LCCC students. The awards came in the forms of The LCCC Trustee Scholarship, LCCC Presidential Scholarships, Diversity Incentive Awards, Non-Traditional Student Incentive Awards, University Partnership awards, and general scholarships and awards.
“Knowing it is a rough time of year it is great to see how many scholars attended tonight,” Church expressed in his opening speech after asking all scholars to stand for a round of applause. Those who contributed to the scholarships and awards were also recognized.
Many of the students, like myself, were experiencing the Spitzer Center for the first time. The upscale surrounding paired with the upscale dinner (including three types of forks and napkins made of fabric and not paper) gave many the feel of professionalism. Although my donors were not present I was able to have a lovely dinner with my parents and with another couple whose recipient was not present at the dinner.
Celebrating the scholars was not the only function of the dinner. Church made a point to discuss how far the LCCC Foundation has come. Church’s informative speech on LCCC’s Vision 2.0 program, a program to reconnect and rebuild the Lorain community through the LCCC graduates, was informative and eye opening to most of those in attendance. “The reshoring of manufacturing jobs, the rising college debt and changing of our community based on the levels of diversity, age and educational attainment are reasons to refresh our ties with local businesses and find out what they need from our graduates in order to rebuild our community.”
Church also emphasized the connections that student scholars should make with their professors and staff while at LCCC, sharing how the connections made here might seem small but have long lasting effects after graduation. However, Tarpley used her real life success story to vouch for Church’s Vision 2.0.
“Although it is great to make connection with your teachers make connections with the other students,” Tarpley emphasized. “I cannot express how helpful it was when I was looking for jobs and how my former classmates could vouch for me. Any connection is a strong connection so take and make as many as you can.”
Tarpley ended her speech, and the remaining part of the evening with an N’gambai African proverb that she hopes will help us to continue to make connections while we are still at LCCC and when we leave.”If you want to travel fast, travel alone. If you want to travel far, travel together.”