Scholarship donor dreams of a better world

Ralph Gamel said he started an OCCC scholarship back in 2006 with one goal in mind: helping fund an education for dedicated, hard-working students who would then make the country a better place.

Multiple students will be chosen for the Gamel Scholarship, worth up to $1,000 per student to help pay for books, fees, and tuition for the spring 2014 semester, said Development Director Jennifer Hardt.

To be eligible for the one-timeaward, students must have at least a 2.0 GPA, be currently enrolled at OCCC and plan to attend the spring 2014 semester, Hardt said.

The scholarship was started in 2006 by Gamel who now funds the scholarship with his wife Connie.

Gamel said he wants to en- courage students to continue with their education.

“You can’t be too smart to be successful,” Gamel said.

“That’s what I think [students] need to do — concentrate on education…

“They have to work hard and make the right decisions about what they do in their life.”

Speech Communication Professor Julie Corff said she has known Gamel since she was 8 years old.

“As a family friend, he knew that I was a professor at OCCC,” Corff said.

“I would brag about my students and what we’re doing here and how excited I am about the lives of our students and how we make a difference. We change people’s lives ….

“In that enthusiasm, he got excited and said ‘I want to participate. I want to give to that cause,”

Hardt said Gamel has now given more than $180,000 toward scholarships.

Some OCCC students who plan to apply for scholarship money dream of how it would help them.

Physical therapy assistant major Jessica Canfield said scholarship money would help her save money to use toward gas for her car and a new computer.

“School is expensive,” Canfield said. “I’m a single mother with four children and a dog.

“I lost hours at my job because I chose to go to school, so it would probably help make up for that month and a half or two months of income that I don’t have anymore.”

Mathematics major Jose Gomez said scholarship money would help him have extra money for bills.

“It never hurts to have an extra income coming your way,” Gomez said. “I’m broke. I work, but I pay child support and have a lot of other things to pay off.”

Student applicants will need to write a 500-word essay along with completing their application. All criteria is listed at opportunities/103.

Hardt said students should put thought into the essay.

“We look for passion in talking about your educational, future career and professional goals,” she said.

“We want to know in the essay that you do have a financial need and why there is a financial need in your life to help pay for college.”

Hardt said students are able to apply every semester and, unlike some other scholarships, international students are eligible to apply as well.

“I encourage everyone to apply,” she said.

To apply for the scholarship, students need to stop by the OCCC foundation office in room 1A4 in the Arts and Humanities building, fill out an application and return it with their essay and an official OCCC transcript.

The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22.

For more information, call Hardt at 405-682-7548.

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