On Tuesday morning, students, staff and community supporters gathered at Lake Washington Institute of Technology in Kirkland for the school’s annual Bright Futures Benefit Breakfast event.
The purpose of the event was to raise money for student scholarships as well as the school’s emergency fund.
The event brought in $185,000, in part because of the Bridge the Gap Student Emergency Fund Matching Challenge, which was posed to attendees that morning.
“This grant is designed to ensure that no student has to choose between staying in school or dropping out of school in the event of an unanticipated emergency situation in the 2017–18 academic year,” said LWTech public information officer Leslie Shattuck.
Of the money raised Tuesday morning, she said $25,000 was matched by philanthropists James Kinsella and Robert McNeal.
“This funding has the potential to provide $50,000 for the Student Emergency Fund, allowing us to serve more students with greater amounts of assistance,” Shattuck said.
Michal Tidwell, a student in the school’s transportation, logistics and supply chain management program, shared with the audience how the fund helped her.
She said there came a time when her home was no longer a safe place for her to be and money from the fund allowed her to find somewhere to stay in the meantime while she looked for a more permanent solution.
“I’m grateful beyond words,” she said. “The Student Emergency Fund ensured my safety and success.”
The breakfast also featured videos highlighting the school’s partnership with community businesses and how students have benefited from scholarships.
“I really, really appreciate it,” Taebum Park, an auto repair technician student and scholarship recipient, said in a video.
He and other students noted that many of them require tools and or equipment in order to participate in their programs and scholarships help relieve some of that financial burden.
“These scholarships put professional tools into the hands of students,” said Mark Harrison, who is in the machining technology program, pursuing a second career.
LWTech nursing student Salena McClinton added that receiving a scholarship has also given her the confidence to continue with her education.
“It was such a blessing,” she said about others believing in her.
Tuesday’s breakfast was also an opportunity for the school to showcase some of the work LWTech students do and featured breakfast prepared by the culinary arts and baking arts students and staff. Attendees also took home metal business card holders manufactured by LWTech’s machining technology students.
Throughout the morning, as speakers shared why the donations the school receives are important, President Amy Morrison Goings said their goal is to make sure every student succeeds but that they can’t do that without donors’ help.
“We are just so grateful for your support,” she said, adding that students who receive scholarships are more likely to finish their certificates.