PCCUA-Helena scholarship recipient expresses heartfelt thanks to PCCUA
Posted Date: 4/18/24

Scholarship recipient says through PCCUA she has gained a life

Scholarships are an amazing source of financial assistance for college students, and this week’s Scholarship Luncheon at PCCUA-Helena was further proof of how invaluable they are to the recipients.

The purpose of this annual event is to honor and recognize the contributors to the Phillips Community College Foundation (PCCF) for supporting educational opportunities for students. The luncheon offered the perfect opportunity for scholarship recipients to personally thank their donors for positively affecting their lives and making getting a degree more attainable.

Currently completing level one in the Associate Degree Nursing program on the Helena Campus, Winter Sorenson, who is a Warriors for Walt Scholarship recipient, was very inspiring and appreciative as she shared her personal challenging circumstances and the ways PCCUA and her scholarship are helping her fulfill her dream of becoming a registered nurse. 

“When you grow up fighting for a bed and a hot meal, an education can seem far out of reach and the least of your primary concerns,” Sorenson noted, adding, “I didn’t know when I started at PCCUA that the amount of encouragement, love, and support that I would receive, would be the final missing piece. My humble beginnings started as early as birth, born into a home of alcoholism, drug addiction, abuse, and extreme poverty. I use the term ‘home’ loosely, as there were many times growing up my family was homeless, living on the streets of San Diego. Neither of my biological parents nor grandparents had college degrees. Apart from an education, I have learned there are many values that are taught to you as a child, none of which I was very familiar with.  Along the way I have had to learn respect, responsibility, integrity, honesty, self-love, acceptance, and so many other lifelong values.”

After gaining her GED, Sorenson entered the military, where she suffered further abuse and harassment as a service member and landed in an abusive relationship that she was unable to get free from for seven years. A survivor, she was able to get away and moved into a shelter in Helena, where she started a new beginning far greater than she knew life had to offer. Here, she found a job, a husband, and had two beautiful children and a small country dwelling that was warm and cozy.

“I had all the things, but my heart longed for more,” she explained. “Phillips College offers so many opportunities for people like me to build a future. Through their scholarship opportunities, Career Pathways, work-study, food pantry, and further, there is not a single stone left unturned. With their help, I have learned confidence, stability, and ownership of a brighter future. Myself, my husband, my children, and even onward to their children thank you! Phillips Community College, I have learned what it is like to have my heart held. I have gained a friend, I have gained a vision, I have gained a life.”

PCCUA Vice Chancellor Rhonda St. Columbia and instructor Andrew Bagley also took the occasion to remind contributors of other opportunities for giving to the PCCUA Foundation, providing an update on the gym renovation and newly resurrected men’s and women’s collegiate basketball teams that will begin competing this fall. The sports program and renovated facility will benefit the students, the College and the community, and there are many ways donors may help in getting the program off the ground and sustaining it for years to come. In relation to the gym restoration, alone, there are naming opportunities for various levels of giving to both phases of the project.

Donors may help fund College programs or future students in their journeys by making donations or establishing scholarships through the Phillips Community College Foundation by calling St. Columbia at (870) 338-6474, ext. 1130.

Image title

Image title




Share on Social Media