BY JENELLE FRANKLIN
The Washtenaw Community College Foundation celebrated its 30th anniversary earlier this month, at the annual Mardi Gras fundraiser celebration. This year’s theme was “Golden Mardi Gras,” in honor of the school’s 50th year serving Washtenaw County. The event was staffed by mainly volunteers, including some members of the college’s Phi Theta Kappa.
The annual Mardi Gras raises vital funds to help students reach their academic goals and give support to classroom initiatives, according to the foundation’s website.
Betsy Petoskey, the chair of the WCC Foundation board, announced the foundation was able to help 700 students during the this past school year.
“Both the amount of the individual per student scholarship and the total amount of scholarships has increased,” Petoskey said.
According to WCC President Rose Bellanca, Petoskey is the leader in the efforts put forth by the WCC Foundation.
The foundation event started as cocktails, hosted at someone’s home, according to Tony and Dawn Procassini. Tony has been on the committee since the first year and has watched WCC grow and flourish, despite the original doubt from city officials of the need for the college.
In his speech, Tony thanked the citizens of Washtenaw County for their long-time support, along with faculty and staff for all the hard work, commitment and success seen at WCC.
“Because there was U-M, Cleary, Concordia and Eastern, they thought we didn’t need (WCC), until they came here. It is the interest taken in the students that shines here, and why six out of 10 of our children graduated from WCC,” Tony said.
As a long-standing committee member, Tony believes WCC has been able to develop itself as an essential part of the community. WCC has “changed, grown, and kept up with the times,” Dawn said.
During her speech, Bellanca noted the key persons responsible for the largest campaign in WCC’s history, Tim and Laurie Wadhams, who helped raise $8.5 million for students.
“Because of this historical campaign, many more students will realize their dreams,” Bellanca said.
Laurie Wadhams is a WCC graduate, and an example of how alumni give back to WCC. That kind of money is an example of the hard work put in from everyone involved, according to Stephen Gill, WCC board of trustees treasurer.
Jessica Bibbee, a graphic design student, is one of the students who received a Foundation scholarship in October 2015 and attended the event. Bibbee has been keeping busy with a work study program since November 2015, working with Susan Ferraro, director of media relations.
“I believe in the WCC foundation, and enjoy my time helping here and writing for On The Record,” Bibbee said.
According to WCC’s scholarships website, the awarded scholarships total $500,000. There are three chances per year to enter, with deadlines in February, June and October, for the following semester.