Scholarship awards exceed $185,000

Posted on July 6, 2017

School may be out for the summer, but that doesn’t mean students are any less busy. Many recent high school grads are gearing up to head to college in the fall, which makes it a busy time at the Community Foundation as well.

This summer the Foundation awarded more than $185,000 in scholarships to 85 students. Of these scholarship recipients, more than 15 percent will be the first in their family to go to college. 

One such student is Port Huron High graduate Elma Celebic, a first generation college-goer with immigrant parents. She received $3,000 from the Nyeste-Regling Scholarship Fund.

This fall she will be attending Western Michigan University to major in political science and minor in international business. Law has always fascinated her, and she decided to study political science to help create laws after taking an AP government class.

“I love helping people and I love government so I thought, what better way is there for me to help people then studying politics and becoming a member of congress,” Elma said.

Natalie Keith is another scholarship recipient and first generation college student continuing her education at Lawrence Tech for mechanical engineering. This year she received a total of $4,000 from the Howard A. Acheson Memorial and James Wilhelm Memorial scholarship funds.

She also received the Howard Acheson scholarship in 2016.

Coming from a blue-collar family background, she used to think her chances of getting a higher education were “slim to none.”

“The idea of acceptance into a college seemed impossible at one time in my life,” Natalie said. “Being a first generation college student, I knew that I would have to work harder than most to further my education. Endless hours of research, planning, and studying took its toll but was never enough to discourage me from my dreams.”

Natalie credits her success to her parents, Ronald and Candice. Although they never attended college themselves, they taught her determination and encouraged her every step of the way, often sitting down and learning the college application process beside her. 

But it also wouldn’t be possible for the Foundation to help students like Elma and Natalie without recognizing the donors who make our scholarships possible. Especially ones like Dr. James Acheson and Dr. Daniel Wilhelm who recognize the importance of helping students beyond the first year - making it more likely they’ll complete their degree.

View all 2017 scholarship recipients.

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