By John O’Donnell, President MassBay Community College
When she heard that her son Patrick would be going to college for free, Enive Dieudonne could not believe it. “Are you sure they’re not taking money from your account?” she asked him. But we weren’t.
Thanks to the dedicated members of the MassBay Foundation
, Patrick Dieudonne is one of dozens of MassBay students who benefit from scholarship monies available every semester. Led by James McKenzie, whose father John F. McKenzie was MassBay’s president when it first opened its doors in 1961, the MassBay Foundation is comprised of 13 business leaders and members of the MetroWest community who have volunteered their time and talent to provide the funds students like Patrick Dieudonne need to pursue their dreams.
Patrick, his two brothers, and their mother came to America from Haiti in 2010, receiving political asylum here after their father, who was a politician, was assassinated. Settling in Norwood, Patrick spent his senior year at Norwood High School. By earning a 3.65 Grade Point Average (GPA) at Norwood High, Patrick finished in the top-ten of his graduating class. In doing so, he became eligible for the President’s Top Ten Scholarship
(now known as The President's Scholars Scholarship), which is awarded to two students every year. The Scholarship provides two years of free tuition and fees to MassBay students who graduate with a 3.0 GPA or higher and/or finish in the top ten of one of the public high schools in the 27 cities and towns MassBay serves.
In its September 2012 Vision Project report, Time to Lead
, the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education notes that by 2018, 70% of jobs in Massachusetts will require at least some college – the most of any state in the nation. Like his father before him, Jim McKenzie understands the fundamental mission of community colleges as an affordable gateway for MassBay students of all ages to get these jobs, and the sustainable careers they will provide for thousands of Massachusetts citizens.
Scholarship opportunities at MassBay are almost as diverse as our student body. While we present $1,000 scholarships each year to up to ten students who have economic hardships, we also recognize and reward students of all kinds through these scholarship funds.
In addition to the Top Ten scholarship (now known as The President's Scholars Scholarship), MassBay awards thousands of dollars each year through the Sapienza Scholarship in support of a musician or artist; the Maxine Elmont Scholarship, given to students who are coming back to college and who are at least 25 years old; the Leonce Cadet Joseph Award presented to “a deserving international/immigrant dream chaser;” and the John F. McKenzie Scholarship, awarded to one graduating senior from each of the 27 public high schools in our service area who has earned a 2.5 GPA or higher and the recommendation of a guidance counselor.
Scholarship awards are also given to current MassBay students who score a 4.0 GPA, are scholar-athletes, carry a 3.0 GPA and higher and enroll in summer classes (need based), or show the most academic improvement.
At MassBay we are proud to offer needed funds to people like Patrick Dieudonne, who are on our Wellesley Hills, Framingham and Ashland campuses pursuing their dreams. Without them, we know that the jobs of the future may be out of reach.