Two Bainbridge State College students from Early County will each now have the opportunity for $1,000 scholarships, thanks to Dr. Patricia Cleveland’s generous donation to the Marvin and Raymond Singletary Fund.

Prior to Dr. Cleveland’s recent donation, one student from Early County was eligible for the Singletary scholarship, but  because of her donation, the scholarship fund now has enough invested to perpetually provide for two $1,000 scholarships.

“Receiving such a scholarship can truly be life-changing in many cases because some of our students have difficult financial situations. Even with a job, it can be hard to attend school and pay the bills,” Dr. Cleveland said. “Our aim is to help those students who need that extra push.”

Dr. Cleveland, who is a retired educator, remembers a first-generation student who struggled financially to continue her education at Bainbridge State and what a difference the scholarship made in her life.

“Those are the kinds of stories that motivate me; to give somebody a chance who would have never had that opportunity to go to college without a little financial support,” Dr. Cleveland said. “My heart has been in education, and to give students who are struggling a chance, that’s my goal.”

Dr. Cleveland is a board member of the Bank of Early that established the scholarship in memory of Raymond C. Singletary Jr. and Marvin S. Singletary. She served as vice president of operations at the Albany Technical College, which was what the Early County Center was before Bainbridge State College took over the center in July 2006.

The Singletary Fund scholarships are part of Bainbridge State’s Kirbo Scholars Matching Grant, which was created through a generous gift of $100,000 from the Thomas M. and Irene B. Kirbo Charitable Trust. The Kirbo challenge grant is to raise $100,000 in matching funds from donors in counties that are within Bainbridge State’s support area to ensure students from those counties have an opportunity to compete for scholarships.

Dr. Cleveland’s and the Bank of Early’s donations now ensure two Early County students each will have an opportunity for a $1,000 scholarship annually.

Joann Simpson, dean of the Early County Center, said the hope of a student receiving a generous scholarship also serves to motivate students.

“I had a student who didn’t get the scholarship last time, but she said she was only going to work harder in her course work to further her chances of receiving a Kirbo Scholars scholarship,” Simpson said. “It motivates students to work harder when they see scholarships are given out to deserving students.”


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