Donors and Students at Breakfast Event

On February 20, the Hostos Community College Foundation’s second annual Donor and Scholar Appreciation Breakfast was held at Hostos Community College. Presented by the College’s Divisions of Institutional Advancement and Student Development and Enrollment Management, the event provided the opportunity to thank scholarship donors and introduce them to award recipients.

There was a full house for this special event. In attendance were numerous donors, students, Hostos leadership, faculty and staff, and Hostos Foundation Board members. Also in attendance was Dolly Martinez, Chief of Staff and Associate Vice Chancellor for CUNY Chancellor Matos Rodríguez’s Executive Office.
Hostos Foundation Board Member Tim Noble spoke of how events like the Appreciation Breakfast allow “our supporters and students to connect personally, learn more about each other, and celebrate all that we can achieve when we come together.”

Hostos Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Christine Mangino pointed out that scholarships “help to build the bridge that enables our students to stay in school and graduate.”

Hostos President David Gómez reflected on the circumstances of many Hostos students. “They have children and other family members who rely on them and whom they support; they often work full-time or have several jobs to try to make ends meet; and they have financial challenges.”

But, President Gómez noted, these students have something else: “They have the drive, determination and heart to persist and overcome their challenges and transform their lives. Our donors truly make a valuable investment by investing in the determined students of Hostos. And our scholarship recipients also make a truly valuable investment – they put in the work and invest in themselves, their families and their communities.”
The compelling life stories of the student speakers were the true heart of the event. Juana Florentino Guirdis, Sayonara Díaz, Antoine Hunter, Tameka Cassaberry and Dream Faison, related the paths that led them to Hostos. Scholarships transformed their lives and helped make what had seemed impossible – a college degree, a better life for themselves and their families – not only possible but achievable.

Juana Florentino Guirdis received supportive funds from the Circle of 100 Emergency Fund, the 1199 SEIU Scholarship, the NYC Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Pediatrics 2000 Scholarship. Sayonara Díaz was the recipient of a Carlos Beltrán Scholarship. Antoine Hunter received the Josephine Aguado and the Madruga Extenuating Circumstances Scholarships. Tameka Cassaberry was awarded the Feiner Family Fund Scholarship, the Circle of 100 Emergency Fund, The Student Government Association Merit Based Scholarship, The Haven Fund, and the Bronx Element Leadership and Social Justice Scholarship. Dream Faison was awarded the Feiner and Bronx Element Scholarships. In the words of scholarship recipient Dream Faison, “Donors and scholarships are changing lives.”

Elías Alcántara, Founding Donor of The Bronx Element Leadership and Social Justice Scholarship, spoke with great warmth about the value, necessity, and pleasure of recognizing student accomplishments.

But once again, it was one of the student speakers who summed things up best. Dream Faison struck a chord that resonated in both donors and scholars when she spoke of what she’d received – and of what she wishes to do in return. “The greatest thanks I can give,” she said, “is to use everything I've learned and pay it forward with work in my community and service to whomever is in need, just as it was paid forward to me.”
Donor Appreciation Breakfast Photo Gallery