SBCO college scholarships change lives
Skyrocketing college tuitions pose a special challenge for young people growing up in former mining towns. Edward Aguirre was one of 24 graduates from Hayden High School in Winkelman. “I knew I needed to go to college, but I didn’t know how to get there. Not many people in town go past high school.” His high school counsellor told him about the SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO) college scholarship which is open to students in an area stretching from Catalina to Superior. Edward completed the application, including writing an essay about his goals and interests, and gathered letters of recommendation. “I was interviewed by four or five members of the SBCO Education Committee. It was a little intimidating. My work experience was in the mine.” Upon receiving his scholarship, Edward enrolled in the new CEP (Concurrent Enrollment Program) offered jointly by Central Arizona College and Northern Arizona University (NAU). This allowed him to live and work in Casa Grande while completing an associate degree, followed an online bachelor of science in nursing through NAU. Edward’s class is the first to graduate from the CEP and he has just accepted a position as an ICU nurse at Banner Casa Grande Medical Center. As Edward noted, “SBCO provided the only four-year scholarship I received and I am very thankful for the money as well as the encouragement Steve Groth provided.”
Aubrianne Estrada graduated from the San Manuel High School in 2013. “I needed all the financial aid possible to attend college and SBCO was one of the few that provided significant funds for four years. It was also the only scholarship program that personally interviewed candidates.” SBO also “stayed in contact through semester check-ins, community events and mutual friends.” With her tuition (just barely) covered, Aubrianne was able to use the SBCO scholarship to purchase a laptop, tablet, books and extra credits. “As a first-generation college graduate, SBCO allowed me to pursue a degree without incurring student loans.” After completing associate of business and associate of liberal arts degrees from Pima Community College, she is working as a business development coordinator for the corporate office of Nova Home Loans.
Currently there are 80 students receiving SBCO scholarships at schools and universities across the country. Scholarships of $3,000 per year (increased this year from $2,500) are awarded to those attending four-year schools. Students in a two-year program receive $1,500 per year. Scholarships are renewed annually for students maintaining a 2.0 GPA as a full-time student taking a minimum of 12 credits. This year, 40 applications were received with 24 scholarships awarded.
SBCO honors supporters and elects Board of Directors
On April 23 SaddleBrooke Community Outreach volunteers gathered to celebrate the achievements of the past year and honor the special contributions made by the supporters and volunteers of the year.
First Plaza Storage was recognized as the Supporter of the Year for sponsoring a water table in each of 15 consecutive years of the annual Walkathon. Steve Groth, president of the SBCO Board of Directors, presented the award to Larry Klinger and his daughter Shelly Woodyard.
This year, two people were recognized as Volunteer of the Year for giving generously of their time and talents. Emilie Siarkiewicz was recognized for her work on the Box Tops collection, Car Raffle and other projects. Dennis Nemura was recognized for his work as the Kids’ Closet Receiving Manager.
The following were elected as Board of Directors members for 2018-19: President: Steve Groth, Executive Vice President: Elise Grimes, Recording Secretaries: Cheryl Smith and Marcia Van Ommeran, Corresponding Secretary: Karen Green, Treasurer: Camille Esterman, Assistant Treasurer: Anne Everett, Vice Presidents Kids’ Closet: Jan Olsson and Melanie Stout, Vice Presidents Education: Larry Richter and Denise Anthony, Director of Special Events: Patricia Parker, Directors of Membership: Vivian Errico and Sandy Miller, Director of Communications: Nancy McCluskey-Moore, Golden Goose Representative: Ann Coziahr and Past President: Joan Roberts.
The next SBCO General Meeting will feature the annual Golden Goose Fashion Show, held at the MountainView Ballroom in September.