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GRCC Foundation Board of Directors Excellence Scholarships recognize hard work, determination

June 5, 2023 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The  Grand Rapids Community College Foundation board of directors is recognizing the hard work and determination of two incoming freshmen with full-ride scholarships.

Abigail Vink, from Covenant Christian High School, and Anastasia Murphy, from Coopersville High School, will receive GRCC Foundation Board of Directors Excellence Scholarships.

The scholarships, started in 2022, cover tuition and all fees associated with registered classes for a full academic year. High school counselors nominate the students, with one student each from Kent and Ottawa counties receiving the scholarships. Counselors were asked to consider academics and other factors, including barriers and obstacles the student has faced, community service, and leadership activities or qualities.

Vink, who plans to study Accounting at GRCC, stepped in this past year to care for her four younger siblings and run the household while her mom underwent a kidney transplant. She continues to shoulder all the additional responsibilities – including part-time jobs at Hi-Tone Cleaners and Rainbow Grill – so her dad can return to work while her mother recovers.

“This means that responsibility for the housework, grocery shopping and food prep, as well as ‘taxi service’ for the three younger siblings continues to fall on Abigail, all while she worked to maintain her own schoolwork, college applications and decisions, as well as part-time jobs to help with expenses,” said Mindy Bergman, Covenant guidance counselor.

Murphy is excited to start classes in GRCC’s Visual Arts Department.

“Immediately after touring GRCC, I knew that it was the place I wanted to call home for the next two years,” she said. “The energy and culture in Grand Rapids are unbeatable, and GRCC’s flexibility and good reputation are exactly what I’m looking for.”

She has worked hard to overcome a past that included abuse and self-doubt. At Coopersville, she was first chair in band, choreographer for the show choir, and president of Student Council and the National Honor Society. She also volunteered with Kids’ Food Basket and Versiti Blood Center of Michigan while working at Arby’s.

Celebrating – and rewarding – achievements like Murphy’s and Vink’s is why the board of directors created the scholarship, said foundation Executive Director Erin Van Egmond.

“Our board knows the struggles so many of our students face,” she said. “They also know the important role a scholarship can play in helping students overcome those obstacles and reach their goals. Creating the Excellence Scholarship is just one of many ways our directors support our students and their dreams.”

The GRCC Foundation plans to distribute more than $1 million in more than 400 scholarships this year to over 1,500 students. More information about the foundation – including ways to contribute to a life-changing GRCC education – can be found online.