The Oklahoma City Gridiron Club, which funds scholarships for deserving journalism students, has awarded three of its five scholarships in 2012 to OCCC students.
Joey Stipek, a current OCCC journalism student, was awarded $600 a semester in financial aid for the Jack Dyer Memorial Scholarship.
“I learned about the Gridiron Club through Ronna [Austin] and my friend Chris Lusk, a previous recipient who went on to be the editor of the OU Daily,” Stipek said.
Stipek is a staff writer for OCCC’s Pioneer student newspaper and has been awarded other scholarships through the University of Oklahoma.
“I managed to pay for 40 percent of my school this year through scholarships because of the work I did for the Pioneer,” Stipek said.
Stipek said he was grateful to the media and journalism faculty at OCCC, “and [to] my co-workers in the Pioneer for all of their help and support through the last two years.”
One student said she was grateful for the scholarship she received.
“I didn’t know exactly how I was going to cover everything, I’ve never been able to recieve FAFSA,” said Bonnie Campo, a graduate of OCCC’s journalism broadcast program. I was looking for a way to cover the huge jump in tuition between OCCC and OU.”
Campo said she heard about the Gridiron Foundation from fellow recipients Stipek and Lusk.
“The people at the Gridiron Foundation really wanted students who were going to stay in Oklahoma and make a difference in the media,” Campo said.
Campo said she felt the scholarship would be a good fit for her because of the ties to local media she’d built through multiple internships. She said a few days after attending a Gridiron interview, she received a phone call.
“They told me, ‘We’d love to give you $3,000 for the Jim Lang Scholarship,’” she said.
“I started crying a little bit, because no-one’s ever come up to me and said, ‘Hey, we wanna give you three grand.’”
Campo said the scholarship has alleviated the pressure of keeping up with multiple jobs on top of her academic schedule, and making tuition.
“I don’t have to go to sleep at two in the morning after waiting tables in a bar, and then go to school at eight in the morning. I have another option, I can work maybe three days a week instead of five.”
Campo said she is grateful to the OCCC journalism program, especially professors Sue Hinton and Gwin Faulconer-Lippert.
“I feel like because of OCCC, there are possiblilties made available to me. And now people are awarding me money because of those possiblilties.
“It’s nice to feel like people are backing you up. It’s almost like they’re betting on you to succeed, and I’m not gonna let them down.”
Former OCCC student Julie Bragg was also awarded financial aid through the Gridiron Club.
According to their website, the Gridiron Club has offered financial aid to journalism students in Oklahoma that are aiming to make an impact on Oklahoma journalism since 1928.
Applications are submitted by mail, and can be downloaded at okcgridiron.org/scholarships. Scholarship applications are accepted through March 15.
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