Help support college scholarships at Scholardazzle event

Katrina Anderson, a 2001 graduate of Cambridge-Isanti High School, is one of many students able to pursue secondary education through generous donations at Scholardazzle.

The Anoka-Ramsey Community College Cambridge Campus Foundation invites the community to attend its 2014 Scholardazzle event from 6-8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31, at Spectacular Events Banquet Center in Isanti.

The evening includes dinner; live music; games; live, silent and cake auctions; and the chance to win table service and champagne from the foundation’s board of directors. Tickets are $55 or two for $100 and can be purchased by calling at 763-433-1968 or online at www.anokaramsey.edu.

The auctions will include gift baskets from the Mall of America and others, Minnesota Timberwolves tickets, electronics, hotel stays and more.

Anderson, 30, currently works in the food industry in Cambridge while pursuing a triple major in business, with an emphasis on sales, marketing and management at the Cambridge Campus. She re-enrolled in college after taking some time off to reassess her career goals.

“The scholarship has helped ensure I can pay for books without scrambling to find the money for the books that my financial aid doesn’t always cover,” Anderson said. “I was surprised when I saw the scholarship, as I had always been told that I would never qualify for scholarships as I was an average student who couldn’t afford to be in many after-school activities in high school that aided in college acceptance. I was surprised that I had qualified for anything, and it felt like I truly was appreciated and not on my own.”

According to Michael Wall, director of development at Anoka-Ramsey Community College, seven local businesses and families have already committed to

sponsoring at the Diamond ($1,000) level, and the Cambridge Wal-Mart will donate $1,500.

“The wonder of Scholardazzle is the wonder of the local community,” Wall said. “Hundreds of people attend, catch up, network and share the sense that supporting the future of the community through access to a quality, affordable, local education is vital. It is great to see. Not only is this an impressive and heartwarming beginning to the Scholardazzle scholarship fundraising effort, but it is also a wonderful display of the community’s value of education.”

Last year, Scholardazzle raised more than $30,000 due to the generosity of the community. The Cambridge Campus foundation awarded 70 student scholarships totaling nearly $50,000 from the event and other money raised. The average award was approximately $700.

Cambridge-based business, Outdoor Edge, a long-time supporter of the event, supplied his-and-hers Rossignol EVO First ski packages ($600 value) which include waxless skis, boots, bindings, polls and mounts.

“I went through two years at community college before graduating from the University of Minnesota,” said Outdoor Edge owner K.C. Bohn. “I remember how tough it was to pay for school, so I want to do what I can to help.”

Wall feels education is an investment in the future.

“What we endeavor to show at and through Scholardazzle is that investing in local people working to improve their futures through higher education is an investment in the future of our community,” Wall said. “Nearly 70 percent of Anoka-Ramsey Community College alumni live within 20 miles of one of the campuses. That means that the knowledge, the resources, and the earning (and spending) power stays in the community. In addition, supporting these students becomes cyclical, with these recipients eventually employed and giving back as others have given to them through scholarship opportunities.”

Chilson Jewelers, also in Cambridge, donates jewelry every year to be used in the Card Game raffle. This year the donation is a 14k white gold, black and white diamond pendant ($1,200 value).

“It is important to support the local community and the students in the community to keep the Cambridge Campus strong,” noted store owner Brian Chilson.

The other initial Diamond-level sponsors include: Juanita and Chuck Peterson, John and Bonnie Schlagel, Cambridge Medical Center, Debby and Tom Molano, Presbyterian Homes, Ray and MarieAnn Magnuson, Spectacular Events Banquet Center and Anoka-Ramsey Community College. Dozens of other sponsorships at the $500 and $250 levels are available as well.

“We give because we think it is the right thing to do,” Bonnie Schlagel said.

Attending college gives Anderson hope for her future.

“Going to college means that I have more of a feeling of opportunity than what my parents had been told,” Anderson said. “Especially my mother. She grew up on the mind-set that only those with money could go to college and rarely does someone get a decent enough scholarship to go unless they are exceptionally talented or brilliant, and sadly many others thought the same. I understand now how terribly wrong that mind-set has been, since there are others who were raised like me to believe it but weren’t stubborn enough to give it a shot.”

Wall explained the event allows donors to see first-hand the impact of its donations.

“While I do believe that Scholardazzle is important — it brings the community together, educates about the benefits of local, quality, affordable higher education to our community — it is a means to an end, and that is important to remember as well,” Wall said. “The reason we have scholarship recipients at the event is to let people see the power and impact of their donations on the future of real people.”

Wall said the scholarships are important to the students who benefit from them.

“Quite simply, these scholarships change lives,” Wall said. “Some students simply could not afford to go to school based on their income and bills. While some of our students come right from high school, (and there are scholarships for them) many are older (‘non-traditional’) students, and they balance work, caring for others, family time and their studies. We hear year after year from students that $750 or $1,000 over the course of a year means hours each week that do not have to be spent working and can be spent studying. More time means more success.”

Getting an education means a future of endless opportunities for Anderson.

“My hope is that not only will the business community support but the whole, since there are others who could benefit just as greatly,” Anderson said. “To be a productive member of a community or society as a whole, we all must encourage growth and change within each child so they can better the future for all. It is the only way to progress in an ever-changing world.”

If interested in making a donation of any size to the Cambridge Campus Foundation, contact Michael Wall at 763-433-1597 or email him at Michael.Wall@anokaramsey.edu

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