PADUCAH, KY (01/31/2018) This will be a tough weekend for Hickman County's Greg Godby and his family as February 2 marks the one year anniversary of his wife, Kim's, death. But he is proud of the scholarship established in her honor that will help students at West Kentucky Community and Technical College. He said a donor recognition reception held at college Tuesday was special for him and his family.
"This (scholarship) is something to pass on...to make a difference," Godby said. "It was one of her last wishes to do this. It's very powerful."
The Greg Godby & Family, Kim Godby Memorial Scholarship is awarded to a female, nontraditional WKCTC student returning to school after raising a family. Kim's daughter Megan who attended the reception with her father said the scholarship is a way to keep her mother's memory alive and to help someone else.
Nearly 100 donors, WKCTC students, faculty and staff were on hand during the reception to honor the college's 2017 donors who have helped make a positive difference in the lives of WKCTC students. College officials had the chance to thank their supporters and donors had the opportunity to meet and mingle with students.
"We want to thank you tonight for sharing good fortune with Paducah and West Kentucky Community and Technical College," said Lee Emmons, WKCTC vice president for institutional advancement and executive director of Paducah Junior College, Inc., the charitable foundation of the college.
The reference to good fortune, and a theme of the evening, was based on a quote from Paducah philanthropist and long-time college supporter and friend, Bill Schroeder who passed away in May 2017. He had said, "Unshared good fortune leaves one empty."
Emmons said the quote was given from the perspective of a donor and contributor, but she reflected on the quote from the perspective of scholarship recipients.
"It is indeed the good fortune of the college to have such a wonderful base of generous supporters, and we thank you for that. Many of you share your time, many of you share your talents, many of you share your treasures, and very many of you share all three," Emmons said as she addressed the audience of supporters who contributed to scholarship funds, academic programs, workforce development and specific college projects in the past year.
Martha McWright, 63 of Paducah, is one of the students who has benefitted from the generosity of a donor. She is the recipient of the Yaffe Family Scholarship, which is designated for WKCTC culinary students.
After retiring from the Post Office, McWright took her love of cooking and carved out a new career path. She enrolled in the college's culinary program in fall 2016, and was awarded the scholarship the following spring.
McWright said the scholarship means so much and has enabled her to continue her education. "School is hard with juggling classes, studying, work, and family. With the financial help I receive from the scholarship, that's one less thing I have to worry about," she said.
Shortly after receiving the scholarship, McWright was diagnosed with cancer. After surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, she continued her studies and is now healthy and strong with plans to start her own business after graduation in December 2018.
"I'm not just doing this for me. I'm doing this so my grandchildren will see me and follow this, maybe not in culinary but in whatever they choose to focus on in life."
Her grandkids are taking that to heart. Her grandson, Aaron, is currently enrolled in the college's culinary program and her 10-year-old granddaughter Jordan, who attended the reception with McWright, said she hopes to attend WKCTC someday and maybe following in grandma's footsteps too.
During the reception, Dr. Wally and Geraldine Montgomery, Mrs. Marcia Nemer, WKCTC Board of Directors chair Jason Jones and Paducah Junior College, Inc., Board of Trustees board chair, John D. Williams and PJC Board member Ken Wheeler were recognized with Awards of Distinction for their service and support of the college.
Also recognized throughout the evening were nine newly established endowments and scholarships, grants, nursing education partnerships between the college and Baptist Health and Lourdes hospitals, gifts-in-kind, the Community Scholarship Program partners, college boards and the more than 700 donors listed in the reception program, which include many WKCTC faculty and staff.
More than 1,000 students have currently applied for scholarships for the 2018-19 academic year and Emmons said that number will continue to grow before the March 8 deadline. She said the constant support of donors is the reason why so many students can continue their education.
"We could not be more appreciative of the wonderful support the college enjoys from each of you and from widespread community support," Emmons said at the reception. "This is your college and we thank you so very much."
For more information about WKCTC scholarships visit westkentucky.kctcs.edu.
West Kentucky Community and Technical College (WKCTC) has been recognized four consecutive times by The Aspen Institute as an Aspen Prize Top 10 Community College and twice as a Finalist with Distinction for providing students with strong job training and continuing higher education opportunity, for achieving high completion and transfer rates, and for providing strong employment results for its graduates.