South Plains College Scholarships awarded 18 years later

By Katie Bauer  - bio | email

LEVELLAND, TX (KCBD) - In 1992, Texas Leaders declared April Community College month. Back then, South Plains College wanted to do something special for future students.

Nearly two decades ago, South Plains College awarded some unique scholarships, money that wasn't accepted until this year. Eighteen years ago they made a promise. "We came up with the idea that every baby born at our local hospital in the month of April would be awarded a $1000 scholarship to South Plains College," said the Director of Development at South Plains College Julie Gerstenberger.

They were expecting a dozen or so. "Estimates were the average for the month 12, maybe 17 babies born locally. In April of 1992 there were 29," said Gerstenberger.

"I remember thinking by the 15th of the month, we may have a record month," said Director of Marketing at Covenant Levelland Kathy McDonald. The college was dedicated. "It has been a challenge to keep up with these students over the years, but if we lost track of them, most of them made contact with us," said Gerstenberger.

Every April, they would send a birthday letter and a book, and oh how time flies. At 18 years old, Alesha Cumby and Marcus Jones are only looking toward the future. "I want to be a high school math and science teacher," said Cumby. "My dream job is to have my own studio and make my own music," said Jones.

Both will start at South Plains College in the fall, and with the help of their scholarship, those dreams are not out of reach. "It was always really exciting growing up to go to the mailbox when its getting close to my birthday and I was wanting to get that book in the mail," said Cumby.

Since birth, these students were told just how important a higher education is. "My mom was always pushing me saying you've got a scholarship, you've got to keep focused and you have a chance, you already have the pathway, just keep on it," said Jones.

"It makes you feel like we were born with a specific purpose almost. God put us here for a reason and we were born in this hospital for a reason," said Cumby.

Something as simple as a birthday has connected them. "You automatically have common ground. Marcus and I barely met today and I already feel like I know him. We've always received the same books and the same letters and we just have a story we can share together," Cumby.

Of the 29 students, South Plains College say they only lost track of four, and once school starts in the fall, they will be able to tell how many students took advantage of this special gift.

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