Scholarship donors and recipients come together for annual Star Night

Scholarship donors and recipients come together for annual Star Night

MOSES LAKE — The Big Bend Community College Foundation brought together scholarship donors and recipients this week for its annual Star Night event.

The Foundation hosts Star Night each year to celebrate both donor generosity and student excellence. The event also provides an opportunity for donors and their recipients to meet each other and make meaningful connections.

This year, the Foundation awarded around $315,000 in scholarships to students. Funds came from various donors and from supporters of the Foundation’s annual Cellarbration! for Education scholarship fundraiser.

Big Bend president Dr. Sara Thompson Tweedy spoke about the impact scholarships have on students.

“Education can be the difference between poverty or a fast track to a sustaining career,” she said. “Students, you have no idea the difference you are going to make, not just in your community and your job, but in the trajectory of your families. Donors, because of your generosity, all this good work is possible.”

BBCC alum and scholarship recipient Abinadi Milligan shared how he almost had to walk away from school, and his goal of becoming a pilot, because of financial reasons. Milligan had decided to return to school after serving in the military, but his GI bill funding was running out and other life expenses were rising.

Milligan said paying for school was going to soon be out of reach, which meant he would have to put his education on hold in order to work full-time and support his family.

“I couldn’t access my GI Bill and we just had a new baby, so financials started creeping up,” he said. “I wanted to be a pilot, I had this goal and it was about to be crushed. But (Foundation Executive Director) LeAnne Parton came to our ground school and told us about scholarships. That spring, I was awarded scholarships and I knew I could make it one more year.”

After graduating, Milligan wanted to find a way to help give back to students who, like him, were wanting to pursue a college education. He briefly considered becoming a flight instructor but found a place in the college’s Basic Education for Adults (BEdA) program, where he works as an Open Doors educational planner.

“I eventually found a career that uses an accumulation of everything I knew,” said Milligan. “And it is because of the donors here. They are willing and generous to share so we can keep going, find our goals, and keep progressing.”

Attendees also heard from Board of Trustees chair Thomas Stredwick who spoke about the impact education has in shaping students’ lives and perspectives.

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