Scholarship Recipient’s Hall of Fame Remarks Underscore Vital Need
for Financial Assistance
When Sabrina Paradis stepped to the podium at the Gateway Community College Foundation’s 17th Annual Hall of Fame Induction & Reception on Oct. 18, her remarks demonstrated that the true meaning of the event wasn’t solely to honor deserving community leaders and outstanding Gateway alumni. Rather, at its very core, the Hall of Fame is the Foundation’s largest fundraiser, and the proceeds help provide vitally important scholarships to deserving students, enhance the college’s learning environment and help faculty and staff develop their professional and educational skills.
Sabrina is a 33-year-old wife, mother, and Nursing student slated to graduate this month. In 1998, then a college junior, she withdrew from school to help care for her mother, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer and had undergone surgery, and was experiencing many complications from both the cancer and her diabetes. As Sabrina watched her Mom’s visiting nurse, she asked questions and learned from him. “He was so patient,” she recalled. “He was the insight I needed to take a new direction in my life.” She eventually became, in succession, an EMT, phlebotomist, EKG technician, and ER technician, all while serving as a volunteer firefighter. “But,” she explained, “my main job was taking care of my mother.”
In 2010, with her Mom in remission and her children in school, Sabrina decided to give her education another try. She applied and was accepted to Gateway’s Nursing program. But two weeks before she was to start the program, her mother was again diagnosed with breast cancer. This time, however, it had metastasized. Overwhelmed, Sabrina dropped full-time status at work, but studied during her mother’s chemotherapy—all to keep the promise she made to her Mom that she was going to be a nurse.
Being unemployed concerned Sabrina, especially since she didn’t know how she was going to pay for her second semester. She applied to the Gateway Community College Foundation for scholarship aid and was awarded both the Philomena Abell Nursing scholarship and the Chamber Insurance Trust scholarship.
“I lost my mother to her battle with breast cancer in July 2013,” Sabrina told the audience. “Two days before her passing she told me, ‘Follow your dreams, believe in yourself and fight for what you believe in.’ That day, I again promised her, and myself, ‘I will become a nurse.’”
Sabrina continued to struggle financially, however. Rather than withdraw from school, she again applied for a Foundation scholarship and received one of the nursing scholarships funded by Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield. “The Gateway Community College Foundation awards thousands of dollars to students each year,” she noted. “For many of us, balancing life, career, family, and trying to pursue our education can be difficult. Because of this Foundation and its donors, we are able to pursue our dreams and graduate without worrying about finances.”
Nearing the end of her remarks, she shared this quote from Henry David Thoreau: “What you get by achieving your goal is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”
“My fellow students, in all different career paths, are the future,” she concluded. “I am the future in nursing. I want to thank the Gateway Community College Foundation (donors) for the opportunity to achieve our dreams and reach our goals.”
You are invited to help students like Sabrina by making your tax-deductible gift to the Gateway Community College Foundation. The GCCF is a fully qualified 501 C(3) organization that helps provide scholarship assistance to students, supports the college’s programmatic needs, and underwrites professional development opportunities for faculty and staff. Please make your gift today by:
Mailing your check, made out to “Gateway Community College Foundation,” to: Gateway Community College Foundation, Gateway Community College, 20 Church St., New Haven, CT 06510
If you have any questions about available giving opportunities, please call the Foundation office at 203-285-2617.