COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Hundreds of local students are getting the chance at a college education and a promising future.
Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson and other city and business leaders kicked off their annual United Negro College Fund (UNCF) campaign on Thursday.
College students were thrilled to come out in front of city leaders to share their journeys about the opportunity to attend school this all being ahead of the big scholarship ball in 2020.
The annual Mayors Masked Ball is also a kickoff to the United Negro College Fund campaign to raise money for scholarships.
This year, the goal once again is to raise $200,000 for 2020. The money will help send students to not just historically black colleges and universities but traditional colleges as well.
“We are so appreciative to this community for their on-going support and our mission to help students to and through college," said Justine Boyd, regional development director of UNCF.
Former scholarship recipients have gone to college. Without the help from UNCF, they weren’t sure they could afford college.
Now, they get to come back home to Columbus and tell their stories, dreams, and aspirations like Kennedy Gamble, who wants to become a math teacher.
Their goals are set high.
“I’m going to become an oncologist in the future," said one scholarship recipient, Quennetta Baldwin.
“I also want to attend graduate school in hopes to work in corporate America and then retire and open my own business,” said another scholarship recipient, Nyla Graham.
“That’s what makes this community so special. It’s the people. They understand that education is the key and there are a lot of people who don’t have that key,” Henderson.
Supporters want to make sure every child has “that key” to a successful future which is summed up in the UNCF’s motto, " A Mind is a terrible thing to waste."
The event took place at Thrive at Green Island in Columbus.