Aiken Tech scholarship recipients thank benefactors

January 31, 2019 GMT

GRANITEVILLE — Aiken Technical College scholarship recipients met and thanked the benefactors who helped them achieve their educational goals Wednesday at a special breakfast.

For the 2018-19 fiscal year, the ATC Foundation awarded $137,500 in scholarships to 205 students, said Mary Commons, the Foundation’s director.

Commons said it’s “always nice to put a face and a name together.”

“Our business leaders, organization leaders and individuals are such a caring, compassionate and philanthropic community,” she said. “They support our students who very much need financial aid. Having them meet gives the gift more meaning and an opportunity for the students to give a heartfelt thank you. I hope students one day will pay it forward and give back as scholarship benefactors.”

During the 19th annual Scholarship Benefactor and Recipient Breakfast, student recipients and a benefactor shared their stories.

Melinda Bradham, a nursing student, received the Sand River Woman’s Club Scholarship. She shared how in 2016 she and her four daughters found themselves without a home and with just the clothes on their backs and the possessions in their car.

Bradham said she and the other scholarship recipients are “forever grateful” to the benefactor and the ATC Foundation.

“I have the greatest admiration and respect for any person who will plant a tree today so that in 50 years someone else will have shade. You have been planting seeds in this community. What you do goes on and on,” she said. “For me, it’s really all about my children and how to make life better now and how to prepare for tomorrow.”

Tommie Boatwright, an Aiken native, received the Fluor Foundation Scholarship. He served as a medic in the U.S. Army in Iraq and Afghanistan. After returning to the states, he settled in Atlanta, but after an “encounter” with an 18-wheeler in which he suffered physical injuries, he returned to Aiken and his family.

Boatwright said that encounter caused him to look for a new direction to support his community.

“I’m going into the radiologic technician program. That’s my direction so I can give back to my community and my family,” he said.

Hannah Hardee received the Beta Delta Chapter, Delta Kappa Gamma Scholarship. She is the assistant children’s pastor at the Langley Church of God and is studying early childhood education.

“When I received this scholarship, it seemed to confirm God’s direction and purpose for my life,” she said. “Considering I have two other sisters in college, this goes a long way in helping me reach my own educational goals without having to worry about my school finances.”

In 2001, Leroy Delionbach, a former administrator and the first psychology department head at ATC, endowed the Hilda Delionbach Memorial Nursing Scholarship in honor of his late wife, a retired nurse.

Delionbach said he received scholarships in college and knew what it was like to hold a part-time job, drive a “clunker” of a car and worry about whether he could buy a new textbook instead of a used one.

“A scholarship is a wonderful thing, and it makes a difference in whether you can go or not go to school sometimes,” he said. “I think the recognition that goes with that scholarship as a person who becomes a caregiver, a law enforcement peace keeper or a leader in the community is sometimes worth more than the monetary value. That’s why I became a sponsor.”