Having a successful college career is not always as simple as “going to class to pass”. Obstacles often get in the way of a student continuing higher education and completing their degree. For students Megan Yochum and Charity Royse, their obstacles included being a full-time mom, having a full-time job to support their families, and juggling homework and home life while excelling in their classes at Connors State. Both students are members of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and are active around campus and in the community.
For many students in Oklahoma, the financial burden of attending college is too much, and is often a deciding factor for working-parents when it comes to higher education. To help alleviate this, the Muskogee Rotary Club partnered with Connors State College to establish a one-of-a-kind scholarship for non-traditional students to absorb the financial cost for these students.
“This scholarship is the first of its kind for the Muskogee Rotary Club, which considers itself first and foremost a Civic service organization,” said Mike Lewis, Vice President for Fiscal Services and Muskogee Rotary Club member. “These scholarships are life changers for our non-traditional students in Muskogee; many of whom are working parents and who carry heavy burdens to achieve independence and provide a better life for their families.”
To qualify for this scholarship, Yochum and Royse had to meet a set criteria for acceptance. Criteria included being a non-traditional sophomore, having obtained 31 credit hours or more, with a minimum GPA of a 2.5. Applicants must also submit a 500 word essay on a topic chosen each year by the Muskogee Rotary Club. This year’s topic was “Service Above Self” and both Yochum and Royse knocked this essay out of the park with their responses. This year, they each received $1,250 to use for tuition, books, fees, and other costs associated with educational growth and development.
On Thursday, August 17, 2017 during a Muskogee Rotary Club luncheon meeting, Yochum and Royse, joined by Dr. Ron Ramming, President of Connors State College, and Lewis, were presented their scholarships for the fall 2017 semester. Dr. Ramming spoke to the club members on how their generosity is going to change the lives of these students, and students yet to come. Yochum and Royse then each took to the stage to express their gratitude and thank the club members for helping them achieve their goals.
“I am confident that these two students who were chosen for this scholarship are becoming leaders in their community and will fully utilize them to achieve their goals,” said Lewis. “We are very proud of them.”