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Even in these uncertain economic times there is one thing that remains a certainty. That is the annual support of the Washington County community for St. Catharine College. Such support was evident again Thursday night at the Washington County Circle of Friends dinner that generated $201,693 for the local school.
“I am continually amazed by the generosity of the people in Washington County,” said Jenna Copple, Vice-President for Advancement. “Even in this tough economy they stepped up again to support these students and the college.”
Copple wasn’t the only one in amazement of the tremendous support generated by the local Circle of Friends. “The people of Washington Count are amazing,” said SCC President William D. Huston in closing remarks Thursday. “Not a day goes by when I am driving home that I don’t think of what a generous community and great support we have here.”
This year’s co-chairs of the event, County Judge-Executive John Settles and his wife Jill, were also elated with the turnout of 225 people. “I was somewhat concerned about the economy because I sure didn’t want the year that we chaired to fail,” said Judge Settles. “But I was pleasantly surprised by the response from everyone I talked to. Of course with the vision and energy that Bill Huston has it is easy to get excited about what is going on at St. Catharine.”
“It is obvious that everyone is very glad to have a four-year college in our county and are happy to help with its expansion,” said Jill Settles who is Community Education Director for the Washington County school system.
The proceeds from the Circle of Friends go annually to help students with scholarship opportunities. It was fitting then that the night was centered on the students, complete with an introduction of students representing nearly every organization on campus.
“The people we met with were excited about the changes that brought the focus of the evening on the students,” said Jarrett Stull who is Director of Development. “This year we asked people to make their pledges before the event and that was well received. More than half of the donations were received before the dinner which allows the night to be more of a celebration and a chance to highlight the students.”
President Huston did take time to share some of the students’ recent accomplishments. He related to the audience the success of nursing students who achieved a 100 percent pass rate on their national exam. He spoke of an EMS student who used the skills learned in her class to save the life of a man who had collapsed outside a store in Louisville. Huston chronicled the thousands of community service hours put in by SCC students and recalled numerous achievements of Patriot athletic teams.
“Hearing those things and seeing the students in the room really helped the people see who was benefiting from their donations,” added Jenna Copple.
While the student participation was new to the Circle of Friends dinner, it wasn’t the only nuance to Thursday’s program. For the first time in the campaign’s history, next year’s co-chairs were introduced at this year’s dinner. Taking the reins of Circle of Friends -2009 are Bill and Angela Robinson and Hal and Mary Lynne Goode.
“We want to get started soon on working toward next year,” said Bill Robinson. “We already have talked about some ideas that can create the same type of excitement that we saw here tonight.”