The Lansing Promise has been helping high school students go to college without such a heavy financial burden since 2012 and today they announced they have officially helped 1,000 students step onto a college campus.
It highlighted their 1,000th scholarship recipient, Paris Leek, who is planning to go to Lansing Community College to study Psychology.
Other scholars, like Ramiro Garcia, also attended the dinner and say that if it wasn’t for Lansing Promise, his education path could have fell short.
“I’m thinking about going to grad school now and that’s a really good opportunity for me because of these first two years that the financial burden has been really like lifted from my shoulders,” said Garcia.
Bebeto Nyongobela is another scholar who says he comes from a low-income family. He says the opportunities that he’s been given by the Promise, is unmatched.
“They just give me that opportunity that I can stand up and I can say I can do this, and just keep pushing through until I can get my Bachelors degree or Associates degree,” said Nyongobela.
Executive Director for the Lansing Promise, Justin Sheehan, says the financial help is only one aspect of their goal.
“This isn’t really all about scholarships this is about help, this is about changing the conversation for an entire generation, is about bringing opportunity to young people who have the ability and just need a little encouragement,” said Sheehan.
With 1,000 scholars, Sheehan says he hopes this is the start of a new reality about the chance to go to college.
“This is simply one way for folks to be involved in an entire generations transformation into if I go, to when I go, right? If I’m going to be successful after high school to when I’m going to be successful after high school,” said Sheehan.
Kelsi Gemalsky is graduating from Lansing Community College this year to be a paramedic. She says she’s been a Lansing Promise Scholar since she graduated high school in 2014 and that it’s hard to believe where she is now.
“It means the world to me that someone was willing to help put me in a position, I might not have otherwise been,” said Gemalsky.
Currently, scholars have to either attend Michigan State University, Lansing Community College or Olivet College to be eligible for the scholarship. Sheehan says there’s already conversations happening about wanting to expand state-wide.