More than 550 people packed the Wallace State coliseum Wednesday afternoon for the eighth annual Future Foundation luncheon and auction to raise scholarship funds for the community college.
The event generated more than $211,000 for scholarship funds, with everything from beach vacations to Iron Bowl tickets on the auction block for those in attendance.
College president Vicki Hawsey said the annual event is key in raising scholarship money, as well as awareness about the needs of students in the area.
“The sole focus is raising funds for student scholarships,” she said. “Changing a student’s life by making an investment in their education can be a generational change for them, their children and their children’s children.”
The guest speaker for this year’s event was a current student, who enrolled at Wallace State at the age of 36 after being laid off. The student, Kimberly Smith, has finished at Wallace and since transferred to Athens State to pursue a four-year degree.
“I became unemployed due to corporate downsizing and I wasn’t prepared for that, so I spoke to a close friend who encouraged me to enroll in college,” she said. “I decided that I had two decisions: I could take employment elsewhere and do well for a season, or make an investment in my education and my future. Attending Wallace was a decision I’ll never forget.”
To date, the Future Foundation has awarded more than $434,000 in scholarships to area students.
“This is so near and dear to my heart and many are here to give, and I know a lot are paying it forward with their generosity,” foundation board president Shirley Quattlebaum said.
* Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 220.