An anonymous donation to Holyoke Community College will provide $30,000 in scholarships to victims of the tornado that ripped through western Massachusetts last year.
The purpose of the fund is to assist students who have suffered financial hardship as a result of the June 1, 2011, tornado. To be eligible, students must be either accepted or currently enrolled at HCC and a resident of one of the following communities: Agawam, Brimfield, Charlton, Monson, Oxford, Springfield, Sturbridge, Westfield, Wilbraham, or West Springfield. Scholarship awards will range from $500 to $3,000 per student.
"This is a great opportunity for students whose lives were disrupted by last year's tornado to defray their college costs," said Erica Broman, HCC vice president of Institutional Development. "Some may have had to delay going to college or dropped out or cut back on their classes to help their families deal with the devastation. A scholarship like this may be just what they need to continue their studies."
The anonymous donation came to HCC through the Tides Foundation, and the scholarships will be administered by the HCC Foundation.
Applications are available at hccscholarships.org. The application deadline is April 27. The awards will be announced June 1, 2012, on the one-year anniversary of the tornado.
Applicants will be required to write a short essay describing how the tornado affected their lives and how the scholarship would be used to achieve their educational goals. They must also submit a claim letter from the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) or the Red Cross or a copy of the First Report of Claim from their insurance company.
The donation was inspired by all the media attention HCC received for the Angelica Guerrero Memorial Scholarship we set up last year. That fund was named in memory of the West Springfield mother who sacrificed her life to save her teenage daughter during the tornado. Angelica's other daughter is a student at HCC.
For more information, please contact Erica Broman, vice president of Institutional Development, at (413) 552-2747 or Keith McKittrick, director of Development, at (413) 552-2746.
Photos: (Left) Tornado clean-up in Brimfield. (Right) The June 1, 2011, tornado moves through Springfield.