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Kalamazoo Valley Community College Highlights Business Scholarship for Community College Month

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Photo: Ron Young continues to help students after his retirement as a Kalamazoo Valley Community College instructor through starting a scholarship.

 

As part of Community College Month in April, Kalamazoo Valley Community College celebrates student Devin Wyatt, recipient of its Ron Young Business Scholarship, named after a longtime retired business instructor at the college.

For Wyatt, 27, going back to college was a last-minute decision when she enrolled four years ago. She had enrolled at two other community colleges before she became a student at Kalamazoo Valley Community College. “Registration at the other colleges was so difficult,” she says. “I got there, but they weren’t willing to help me get through it.”

She encountered a different story at Kalamazoo Valley. “People were very helpful. They walked me to where I needed to go. Kalamazoo Valley right away made it possible for me to complete school,” she says. “Everything fell into place and the Ron Young Scholarship made my life so much easier.”

The Eaton Rapids native now lives in Portage and earned associate degrees from Kalamazoo Valley in accounting and business administration. She is currently a junior working on her bachelor’s in business administration degree through Davenport University in the college’s University Center.

In addition to being a Kalamazoo Valley Accelerated Associate Program participant, Wyatt received the Ron Young Business Scholarship. “Thanks to the scholarship, I can continue moving closer to my bachelor’s degree without the financial stress of tuition and book costs,” she says. “As I work closer to graduation, I find it more and more difficult, financially, to pursue my degree, making the scholarship award that much more meaningful and appreciated.”

About Ron Young

Ron Young, who was a Kalamazoo Valley business instructor for 36 years before his retirement in August 2021, said he established the scholarship to help students who may not qualify for other forms of financial aid. Young challenges potential donors to put themselves in a young person’s shoes.

“Think about how much money we spent when we were 18, 19 or 20 years old,“ Young says. “We didn’t have a lot of money or spend a lot of money, so $250, $500 or $1,000 could make all the difference for a student. It doesn’t have to be a lot of money, but it could make a big impact and show a student that somebody believes in them and somebody cares about them.”

Young says he gave his students the same resounding advice through the years – find a way to stay motivated, and persevere academically. He wasn’t a stellar student in high school, but was motivated to attend college and to earn good grades. When he was leaving for college, his mother hugged him goodbye and whispered that he could always come back home to live on the family farm if he failed in college. That offer kept him motivated to study diligently and to earn his degree.

“I always felt what an honor it was to be among students who are right at the beginning of their lives,” Young says. “I told so many of my classes through the years, what you do in the next four or five years will determine the rest of your life. It’s up to you to determine what doors will open for you and which ones will remain closed.”

Young, who still mentors about 25 of his former students, is proud of Devin Wyatt and pleased that she received the scholarship. “I’m glad to be a small part of her journey,” Young says. “I congratulate her for her drive and I’m glad to be a part of it.”

Information about Community College Month and Kalamazoo Valley Community College’s special activities can be found at kvcc.edu/ccmonth. To learn about donating to or creating a scholarship through the Kalamazoo Valley Community College Foundation, visit kvcc.edu/foundation.

Established in 1966, Kalamazoo Valley offers certificate programs in more than 50 areas of study and associate degrees in 60 others. These include business, healthcare, human and public service, and technical occupations, culinary arts and brewing training. It has four Kalamazoo, Mich., locations, including the Texas Township Campus, the Groves Campus, the Arcadia Commons Campus and the Bronson Healthy Living Campus. Classes are available during the day, evening, online and weekends. More details are at kvcc.edu.

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