JCCC Stories

Campus group’s scholarship helps students in need

November 13, 2017


By funding a scholarship, Campus Connections found a common cause that helps build relationships among its members — and helps JCCC students at the same time.

Campus Connections, a networking group for Johnson County Community College faculty and staff, was founded in 2013 to create opportunities for current and retired JCCC employees and faculty to share professional experience and knowledge with each other.

The group also established the Campus Connections Scholarship, a need-based scholarship that helps JCCC students achieve their educational goals.

“By creating the scholarship fund, we made a new opportunity for our group to help support student success, and it gives our group something to rally around,” said Anne Hunt, the group’s past president. “Group members work together to raise funds for the scholarships through activities and events, and we enjoy hearing about how our efforts in turn help our students succeed.”

The scholarship has helped many students stay enrolled – and their stories inspire everyone involved with Campus Connections.

Chrissy Speer

Chrissy Speer, JCCC accounting student and single mother, is not a quitter. When one door closed, she went through another and walked into a new career opportunity in accounting.

Speer had been attending JCCC for several years with the hope she’d be accepted into the dental hygiene program. When she was twice passed over for the program, she got frustrated and stopped taking classes. However, what came next unlocked another opportunity – she got a job assisting an accountant. Speer didn’t know she had a knack for numbers until she started working at a local CPA firm. Her supervisor became her mentor and encouraged her to take Accounting I and a course on federal income tax preparation.

“My boss was hands-on and constantly teaching me new things in accounting,” she said. “I had never realized before how much I would enjoy accounting work and tax return preparation.”

Now, her revised plan is to keep taking accounting courses at JCCC, transfer to a university to complete a bachelor’s degree and earn her CPA certification. With the help of JCCC’s Campus Connections scholarship, Speer will be able to keep up with living expenses and lessen some financial strain.

“Without it, I don’t know if I would have been able to financially afford going to school on top of the costs of raising children,” she said. “The scholarship helped me to show my kids (ages 18, 11 and 10) the impact of generous donors’ support. They have seen how that act of kindness is helping me to achieve my future goals.”

Speer is also proving to her children that hard work pays off. She recently learned that her name was listed on JCCC’s Part-time Honor Roll for Spring 2017.

Christopher Cecil

Making the K-10 commute from Lawrence to Overland Park will be a little less costly for Christopher Cecil thanks to the scholarship he received from Campus Connections. Cecil, a 33-year-old accounting student who lives in Lawrence, is enjoying his classes at JCCC and has plans to attend through Spring 2018, then transfer to the University of Kansas School of Business.

“The scholarship helped cover the cost of my books and gas money,” he said, “but most of all it gave me confidence in my decision to attend college as nontraditional student.”

The ability to afford college classes always seemed out of reach for Cecil.

“As someone who was not raised with means, I dropped out of high school, and early in my adult life doubted my academic abilities,” he said. “I never excelled in academia until given the opportunity and support I’ve received at JCCC.”

In the future, Cecil hopes to find ways to encourage others who have struggled in school or think college is out of reach.

Need financial support to succeed?

Check out all of the scholarships available to JCCC students. If needed, request more information from the Financial Aid Office

Want to support a JCCC scholarship with a donation?

Make a donation, or email the folks in the JCCC Foundation. They can tell you about all the ways your donation can assist JCCC students with financial needs.