June 1, 2020

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Students Meet Donors at Scholarship Reception

Scholarship Reception
Recipients of the St. Mary’s County Government Annual Scholarship pose to offer thanks to the St. Mary’s County commissioners, who established the financial support in 2005 for students who reside in St. Mary’s County.

Scholarship recipients and the donors who made their gifts possible got the opportunity to meet at the 2018 College of Southern Maryland Foundation Scholarship Reception recently.

“Today is about recognizing you, our partners … and we honor you who believe in the mission of the College of Southern Maryland and share in the vision to transform lives, one at a time,” CSM Foundation Chair Nancy Hempstead told the room full of scholarship supporters. The CSM Foundation is the fundraising and friend-creating arm of the college, with an all-volunteer board of directors, raising money for students and the college.

“For our students,” she said, “the scholarships they have received as a result of your generosity is beyond what even we can describe. Each of their stories is personal and unique to their situation, but what they share in common is heartfelt gratitude for how you are making a difference in their lives.”

Dawson Jewell of Charlotte Hall, the recipient of multiple scholarships, agreed.

Mr. Jewell received multiple scholarships to attend CSM and spoke to attendees at the annual donor scholarship reception.

“As I begin my second year as a student at the College of Southern Maryland, I am beyond grateful for the generosity of so many people who help students like myself be able to pursue our dreams for college and our careers,” Mr. Jewell said. “I want a career where I can help people and make a lasting impact, and so my long-term goal is to complete my degree in criminal justice and become a police officer. I am already a cadet for the Charles County Sheriff’s Office, and being around police officers spurs me on to take the appropriate steps to achieve my goal.”

Mr. Jewell, a graduate of La Plata High School, is also a CSM student athlete, as a member of the men’s lacrosse team. He has received the Adjunct Faculty Endowed Scholarship, the Mary I. Shasho Memorial Annual Scholarship, the Neale Chaney Slater Memorial Endowed Scholarship, and the Salome A. Howard Bar Association Inc. Scholarship.

“It is very rewarding to be able to meet our scholarship donors and personally tell them, face-to-face, what their award means to us individually,” Mr. Jewell said to the audience. “I’m sure I speak for the other scholarship recipients joining us today when I say that having others to believe in us and provide financial support makes a world of difference in boosting our confidence and optimism. So, thank you for believing in our future.”

“It is great to meet these recipients each year,” said Chaney Enterprises CEO Frank Chaney during the reception. Chaney established the Chaney Endowed Scholarship for Sustainable Land Use and the Chaney Scholarship for Workforce Development, awarded to eight students pursuing an education in environmental studies, agriculture, construction, engineering, transportation, real estate, and/or farming.

Chaptico resident Stephen Vallandingham is a perfect example of a student who has been offered offered potential employment. Mr. Vallandingham is a volunteer with the St. Mary’s County Advanced Life Support, Seventh District Volunteer Fire Department and Seventh District Emergency Medical Services. He is pursuing his EMS Paramedic Certificate at CSM thanks to the Paddle for Heroes Scholarship from the Leonardtown Rotary Club. The fact that he already works as a federal firefighter at Naval Air Station Patuxent River isn’t stopping the job offers. During the scholarship reception, he said that he has received interest from other departments who are looking to hire firefighters certified as paramedics.

“This scholarship is invaluable to me,” he said. “With my job, family, kids and volunteering, it can be overwhelming and this scholarship helps my family more than I can explain.”

Mr. Vallandingham’s wife Brittany is also a student at CSM, in the nursing program. She is a recipient of the John and Mary Anne Harms Endowed Scholarship, established by Mary Anne Harms to support students who live in Southern Maryland. Both Brittany and Stephen also earned financial support through St. Mary’s County Government’s Annual Scholarship this year. Established in 2005 by the St. Mary’s County commissioners, the county’s annual scholarships help students who live in St. Mary’s County. Brittany is on track to graduate from CSM in spring 2019 and Stephen will follow with his paramedic certificate in fall 2019.

“We owe the Leonardtown Rotary Club and the CSM Foundation a great deal for helping us achieve our dreams and helping us give back to our communities,” he said.

For a full list of the names of the scholarships awarded and the students who received them, go to the CSM website.

For more about the College of Southern Maryland, visit its Leader member page.

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