Rappahannock Community College held a formal ceremony and reception at the Warsaw Campus on October 26, recognizing students who won scholarships for the academic year of 2016-17, and donors of those awards. The president of the RCC Educational Foundation, Dr. Robert Gates, welcomed attendees to the event, acknowledging members of the College and Educational Foundation Boards of Directors.
The evening’s featured speaker was Sarah Pope, RCC’s dean of college advancement and executive director of the Educational Foundation—a position she calls “a personal calling to help make brighter futures possible for our local students.” At Rappahannock Community College, she declared, “we believe that no one should be denied access to higher education because of personal financial barriers.”
The RCC Educational Foundation partners with local businesses, civic organizations, and individuals to fund student scholarships. For the 2016-2017 academic year, local donors and college endowments provided over $430,000 in competitive scholarship funds. To these donors, Pope said, “Thank you for your commitment to these young people who are the future of the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula,” and to the recipients, “We believe in you, and are so proud to call you an RCC student!”
Pope ended with a tribute to two remarkable donors: Dr. Dorothy Cosby Cooke and Eldridge Cook. Dr. Cooke was employed by RCC for 20 years, having attained the position of director of student services by the time of her retirement. Instead of a retirement party, she asked for contributions to start an endowed scholarship fund for residents of RCC’s service region, particularly those living in her home county of Gloucester. After retiring, she organized fundraisers, and asked friends and family to consider donations to her endowment instead of holiday or birthday gifts.
Though the fund quickly grew to exceed $25,000, this did not satisfy Dr. Cooke. Among the many neighbors she told about her endowment was Eldridge Cook, who rose from humble beginnings as the grandson of former slaves to become the owner of Cook’s Seafood Company, a leading national seafood processing plant and supplier employing over 250 people in Gloucester County. Cook was so impressed with Dr. Cooke’s commitment to RCC students that he willed a significant bequest to the Dr. Dorothy Cosby Cooke endowed scholarship at RCC. This scholarship endowment now totals approximately $1 million, and already this year provided scholarships to 17 RCC students.
After sharing Dr. Cooke’s success story, Pope called on Dr. Cooke to stand and be recognized. The audience responded with a round of applause for her and Eldridge Cook.
RCC’s dean of student development, Dr. David Keel, then read the names and awards of the scholarship recipients who were present. For those students in attendance, making a personal connection with the donors of their awards, and the “RCC family” members who work on their behalf, was a heartwarming experience.
Dr. Gates acknowledged the commitment of the scholarship donors, student honorees, their families and friends, before inviting those present to a reception where they could greet each other.
This year, 263 RCC students received 415 scholarships. These students were: Sarah Mundy, Caroline County; Mariana Becerra, Kory Cave, Bonnie Coates, David Coates, Rita-Jane Giese, Hunter Lederer, Sonia Lopez, Andrew Ralston, Chinere Smith, and Shamieka Tate, all of Colonial Beach; Megan Austin, Raven Beverly, Alice Birchett, Dameon Brooks, Sarah Brown, Andrew Butler, Daniel Cervera, Ashley Cullingsworth, Tristan Edwards, Mikelah Feather, Canvas Foxwell, Laura Herring, Candice Hixenbaugh, Shanequa Holden, Doris Kendall, Kermit-James LeBlanc, Kati Martin, Robert McCorkle, William McCorkle, Rachael McMahon, Ashley Moore, Jessica Nelson, Ashley Newton, Mallory Overstreet, Kainen Phillips, Kelly Smith, Amanda Whitlock, and Mitchell Wilson, all of Essex County; Jaqueline Bonniville, Cierra Bowman, EmmaLeigh Brewer, Tori Bridges, Earl Brown, Courtney Campbell, Samantha Carter, Mikaela Chapman, Warren Croxton, Sydney Denton, Briannah Ehly, Mona Flowers, Marisa Franks, Katherine Hinman, David Jackson, Shakeerah Jacob, Michael Johnson, Katelynn King, Alexander Langelotti, Heather Lynch, Nicole Marshall, Brandon Mosher, Desmond Murrell, Sharice Murrell, Maekenna Northstein, Michelle Oberlander, Gloria Pagan, Christine Riddett, Lamar Saunders, Courtney Shelton, Greta Spence, Brianna Sulc, Kendall Tayman, Stephanie Walke, Ashley Warren, Marianne Warrington, Samantha Welsh, Janice Whitley, Stephanie Whitt, and Brittany Woodard, all of Gloucester County; Amber Conley, Henrico County; Matthew Croxton, Alys Davis, Destiny Davis, Megan Garner, Erica Harvey, Anika Holmes, José Perez, and Angela Pollard, all of King and Queen County; Florence Ball, Hanna Breton, Evon Cobb, Danielle Cooper, Nicholas Craley, Matthew DeGuzman, Benjamin Frith, Matthew Green, Shantese Harrison, Lauren Hornbaker, Taylor Hughes, Christina McGann, Morgan Shaffer, Arielle Smith, and Jordan Smith, all of King George County; Katelyn Edwards, Meagan Kemp, Jamie Powell, Rachel Shumate, and Christopher Soule, all of King William County; Shakwan Ball, Steven Barksdale, Brittany Campbell, Penelope Cox, Genevive de Castro, Chamaria Dillon, Frantasia Howard, Brittany Jones, Carmen Jones, Tyleisha Lucas, Julia Mahoney, Mikayla Meadows, Jazmine Moody, Larry O’Bier, Matthew Pittman, Paige Pittman, Donna Ransone, Victoria Saunders, Allison Savoy, Stephanie Schneider, Alexis Smith, Asia Smith, Magdalene Smith, Natalie Smith, Christy Steensma, Shamerah Taylor, Rodesha Veney, Kayla Wilson, Bianca Wohleking, and Samantha Woodcock, all of Lancaster County; Megan Ashberry, Joseph Callis, Kenneth D’Ambrosio, Lindsey Daniels, Jordan Haas, Joshua Haas, Anna Hudgins, Brittany Mitchem, Katie Presnall, Micaela Sadler, Dustin Shellhase, Matthew Shields, Alyssa Smith, Cassia Waldron, Emma Wood, and Savanna Wooten, all of Mathews County; Angel Abbott, Suzette Babcock, David Bayard, Morgan Blake, Allison Bryant, Jessica Burch, Santana Darnell, Benjamin Eanes, Taylor Estep, David Farmer, Brett Fochtmann, William Fochtmann, Kallah Hester, Staci Keller, Courtney Kimble, Shyann Lewis, Vincent Lewis, Jillian Lockley, Daniel Minnick, Davina Peters, Kendrick Reed, Cody Rhodes, Tyler Seay, Gerald Sheppard, Julianna Solomon, Briana South, and Mary Stevens, all of Middlesex County; Christian Babin, Isabella Cashin, Patricia Dalton, Cheyanne Hall, Preston Herman, Amber Holmes, Lucy Kanyingi, Dominique Palermo, Miranda Surridge, and Brendalyn Tavel, all of New Kent County; Yahaira Acosta, DaisiaNay Ball, Andre Barnes, Shonna Brann, Jonathon Burchett, Parker Childs, Miranda Clark, Robert Cooke, Mackenzie Dameron, Garrett Gibson, Sarah Haynie, Brittany Jenkins, Marissa Johnson, Marley Kimmitt, Jasmine Noel, Rena Payne, Jordan Plante, Matthew Rahn, Alexis Reed, Ryan Roberts, Tynesha Seldon, Wynesha Seldon, and July Traylor, all of Northumberland County; Melanie Chastain, Prince George County; Alonya Bates, Rebecca Bell, Darcus Davis, Brittany Hall, Kyra Jackson, Constance Johnson, Aaron McGeorge, Brittany Morse, Alontria Newton, Jessica Ochoa, MiKayla Rapp, Aubrey Sharpe, and Caitlin Vanlandingham, all of Richmond County; Cherwanna Braxton, Mary Cothran, Lan Duong, Savannah Haden, Francesca Hodges, Laurel Kalinowski, Melissa Lickey, Amanda Ramon, and Portia Robinson, all of West Point; and Samantha Beltran, Alisa Brown, Nicholas Brown, Arbrielle Byrd, Quinshon Carter, Ryan Epps, Annette Hamilton, Davon Hamilton, Merrill Hutt, Katie Johnson, Karen Kilmon, Dominique Liles, Brittany Lindsey, Timothy Minor, Erica Molinares, Victoria Moore, Jennifer Mumford, Linwood Newman, Kelsea Nichols, Guillermo Oceguera, Amy Saunders, Anna Sisson, Deshawn Thompson, Yulisa Vasquez, Chanelle Wise, and Shumeka Wise, all of Westmoreland County.