Glimmers of hope: 12th Annual ‘Salute to Women’ Scholarship Tea at BCCC

by Tianna G. Hansen

One hundred sixty guests gathered at the 12th Annual “Salute to Women” Scholarship Tea held on October 4th in the Tyler Formal Gardens on Bucks County Community College’s (BCCC) Newtown campus.

This was the third year the event was held at the Gardens, a picturesque setting perfect for an afternoon tea.

The “Salute to Women” scholarship offers a glimmer of hope to mothers who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford an education or might put their children’s needs ahead of their own.

This year’s student speaker and 2019 scholarship awardee, Stacey-Renee Henning, attended the tea with her six-year-old daughter, Scarlet.

She was selected to speak at the event because of her five-page thank you letter expressing her gratitude for the scholarship and how much it helped and inspired her as a single mom raising her daughter.

“My daughter asked me the other day if she could go to the same college as me,” said Stacey at the event. “I told her at the rate I’m going, you might be able to.”

But for this working single mother who is taking the initiative to get a degree in nursing, it’s not the pace of her studies that counts but that she has gotten to this moment in the first place.

“This scholarship is amazing because it gives me the opportunity to raise my daughter while going back to school,” she said.

Many mothers who never earned a degree yearn to further their education, but put this dream to the side while raising children.

With this scholarship offered through BCCC, mothers are able to realize this dream again as they pursue degrees and take control of their futures with some financial assistance.

Another 2019 scholarship awardee, Shannon Walsh, a history major at BCCC, attended the Tea.

Shannon is raising three sons, an eight-year-old, five-year-old and two-year-old, while going back to school.

Her ultimate goal is to transfer to law school, where she aspires to become a lawyer who can make a difference for women and those caught in the legal system, especially those seeking recovery from addiction.

Shannon has been in recovery for almost 11 years.

“I want to offer people the appropriate resources necessary to seek recovery, and let them know it’s worth the long road,” Shannon said. “I’m armed with experience and passion to help them make a difference in their lives.”

The “Salute to Mothers” Scholarship is open to women attending Bucks while raising at least one child.

Last year’s event raised $23,925, and this year a record $33,000 was raised.

Over the past 12 years, the program has raised over $180,000 in scholarship funds for 135 recipients.

Each $1,000 raised equals one scholarship for a mother seeking education while raising children.

The initiative has an immense, life-changing impact on the women who earn it.

This is proven over time, as each year mothers in attendance speak to their experiences of returning to college while raising children.

The featured speaker at this year’s event was Kathleen Jameson, PhD, Executive Director at James A. Michener Art Museum.

She spoke about women and their influence on art in Bucks County.

Every year offers something new and exciting at the Tea, including a number of raffles to help fundraise and numerous inspirational stories of the women selected.

Betty Tsai, the founder of the scholarship, always attends with a table of her close friends.

Her eyes light up seeing these women pursuing an education with assistance from the scholarship she created.

Congratulations to last year’s student speaker, Olesya Nemesh, who recently completed her Associate’s Degree at BCCC and has been accepted into Liberty University’s Bachelor’s Degree program.

Since graduating from BCCC, Olesya has continued her work volunteering in the Foundation office.

For working mothers and single mothers, women who want to further their education, this scholarship provides the opportunity to get a head start, a boost in the right direction.

Time and again, the mothers who are awarded these scholarships leave a lasting impression on their children, showing them it’s never too late to learn, to pursue an education and follow your dreams.

PHOTO CAPS: 1. Jody Murray (left) and Aliese Rosado, both of Doylestown, fill out raffle tickets at the Scholarship Tea.

2. Lore Eichfeld, also of Doylestown, checks out the items on the raffle table.