Over the past 16 years, K-State Proud has raised more than $1.5 million for Student Opportunity Awards, helping more than 900 students continue their education at K-State.
Jasmine, a senior in apparel marketing from Wichita, Kan, and her fiancée, Ibou Thiaw from Senegal, were displaced from their home when their apartment caught fire earlier this year. Both Jasmine and Ibou lost many belongings, but even worse, they were essentially homeless. "Going to school is hard enough, but having no idea where you’re going to live makes it even harder," Jasmine said.
"K-State Proud provided us the money to help replace some of the items that were damaged. "It also allowed us to move to Jardine, because we had no way of paying for that. We needed this process to happen fast so I could get back to focusing on classes and Ibou on teaching. K-State Proud did that for us.
For Alex Guerrero, choosing to attend Kansas State University was a simple choice. He had heard great things about K-State’s award winning education program, and with dreams of becoming English as a Second Language, (ESL), teacher for elementary education students, the decision was clear. Alex’s passion was first ignited when he served as an ESL para-professional at an elementary school in Topeka.
Unfortunately, the road to our dreams isn’t always paved with good fortune. Alex faced some unexpected financial difficulties. Without help from an outside source, Alex would no longer be able to afford to attend K-State. "I had actually never heard of K-State Proud before," Alex said. "But it seemed interesting, and I thought it was a great idea!" Alex was later chosen to receive a Student Opportunity Award, which allowed him to continue to attend K-State and pursue his dream of becoming an ESL teacher.
Emilie first heard about K-State Proud from a former co-chair on a volunteer trip. She thought it was interesting that an organization was giving back to students, so she decided to volunteer for the campaign her sophomore year of college. That following summer Emilie decided, instead of taking the summer off, she would try to get ahead of the game and enroll in summer classes. They went great, but at the end of the term Emilie found herself in a predicament. Financial aid was unable to cover her bill, and even though she had been working all summer she had no way of paying the remaining total off.
Suddenly, Emilie went from being a volunteer to needing a helping hand herself. After receiving a Student Opportunity Award, she was able to enroll in the fall semester at K-State and continued to give back, volunteering for the next year’s campaign, which raised more than $105,600 for students in need.
Rachael’s life changed drastically at the beginning of her sophomore year at K-State. It was recruitment week and Rachael had just moved into her sorority house when her parents called to tell her she had to come home right away — she’d been diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, a rare and deadly blood cancer. She needed chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant.
During Rachael’s year off, the KSU Student Foundation began a new campaign to help their fellow students called K-State Proud, which raises money to give Student Opportunity Awards to students who have exhausted all other forms of financial aid. When Rachael returned to K-State, she still had medical bills and travel expenses for doctor’s appointments, on top of school costs.
"While going through the hardest time of my life — physically, mentally and spiritually — I felt the support of the K-State community rally around me," Rachael said. "I felt loved and cared for, even during that year off from school."
Charity, an elementary education major from Frisco, Texas, still feels like everyone at K-State cares. Because of support from her fellow students through the Proud campaign, Charity was able to stay at her dream university.
"One of the people in admissions wrote me a personal postcard, and they signed it and said ‘we’re looking forward to seeing you.’ That stood out to me. I’m definitely coming to this school because they actually care and I felt that from the beginning."
"Without the K-State Proud award, I would not be a student here. The Student Opportunity Award allowed me to take care of an emergency situation and if I had not received this award, I’d be going back home. K-State was my dream and I just couldn’t imagine not being able to finish what I’d already started."
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