Scholarships help Lake Tahoe Community College students pursue education | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Scholarships help Lake Tahoe Community College students pursue education

Special to the Tribune

The 2017-18 academic year was a record-breaking one for scholarship fundraising by the Lake Tahoe Community College Foundation, with donors supporting the granting of 120 awards amounting to more than $126,000.

LTCC received scholarship donations from 50 donors to assist 81 students in pursuing their education. The students were recognized at a special luncheon Friday, June 29.

Many of the students are continuing at LTCC to earn a two-year degree or vocational certificate. Some will attend the new Lisa Maloff University Center this fall on LTCC's campus to start work on their bachelor's degree. More will be transferring from LTCC to earn their advanced degrees from other colleges and universities, including a variety of University of California and California State University schools.

"These students have distinguished themselves through their academic success and commitment to the South Shore community," LTCC Superintendent/President Jeff DeFranco said.

The annual awards ceremony not only highlights the stories of students, but the importance of the scholarships, too.

"With many of our students juggling one or more jobs, family and other obligations, our annual scholarship awards ceremony brings to light the importance of how much these donations mean to each recipient," added Nancy Harrison, executive director of the LTCC Foundation.

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Adult learner Claudia Manzano is one of two winners of the brand-new V-Day Scholarship, which is geared toward female students. The organization awards scholarships to those who have demonstrated a passion to end violence against women and girls.

"I started volunteering at Live Violence Free, then heard about V-Day and the Vagina Monologues event, and volunteered for that, too," said Manzano. "I performed in the Monologues locally for six years, and this year, I brought a victim of violence with me, which helped to open the door to her healing. It is such an empowering and liberating event to be involved with, and has a lot of significance for me. I really believe in this cause."

Manzano, a first-generation college student who was born in Mexico, graduated from LTCC Friday, and will start at Humboldt State University in the fall to earn her bachelor's degree in leadership.

She envisions becoming a lobbyist for change in her future, bringing attention to issues involving underserved populations and in particular to women who are victims of sexual assault. She has her eye on the University of California at Berkeley to earn her master's degree.

"Even if you're 90, if you've got a dream, you can do the work and get the paper," said Manzano. "You've got to want to do it for yourself. If you want it, you'll do it."

Bob Cliff, an LTCC Foundation board member, fundraiser and donor, started the Cliff Family scholarship with his wife, Cathy, back in 2012. After completing his education at the University of California, Berkeley with a PhD in industrial engineering, Cliff went on to start a successful consulting firm.

The Cliffs decided to start a scholarship to encourage community college students to pursue educations in the areas of science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

This year, six LTCC students will each receive $1,000 thanks to the Cliff family.

"There are great careers to be had out there in these fields," said Bob. "Cathy and I are certainly hoping that these scholarships will help students pursue them, and be able to have a better life as a result. We hope that they'll do well, and maybe someday they'll want to turn around and help other LTCC students be able to study and enter STEM careers as well."

LTCC graduating student Juan Garcia, who is heading to the University of California, Davis this fall, is one of the bigger scholarship award receivers this year. He was gifted with $5,250 total from the H.E.R.O. scholarship ($3,500), the H.O.P.E. Club scholarship ($750), and the Kiwanis of South Lake Tahoe scholarship ($1,000).

"This just takes a huge weight off my shoulders," said Garcia. "This helps take care of my rent, food and textbook costs for some time, so I can start in the fall without that worry."

Garcia said he hopes to become a teacher.

"The faculty here got me so motivated — they're so passionate about teaching! I want to have that kind of positive impact on others," said Garcia. He plans to earn a bachelor's degree in History from Davis, then earn his teaching credential.

"I want to live in Tahoe the rest of my life and teach at LTCC," he said.

This article was provided by Lake Tahoe Community College.