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A New Team Manages the Student Aid Program for LCS
Submitted by Blue
After 19 years of running the Lake Chapala Society’s Student Aid Program (SAP), Coralee White is stepping down. And she’s stepping down proud as a peacock. She’s worked with more than 300 students throughout those years who have received student aid from LCS and gone on to become doctors, engineers, teachers and nurses as well as a slew of other professional and technical positions. Coralee is a Mexican woman who taught French at both the high school and university level in Guadalajara before retiring to Lakeside with her husband.
Over the years, Coralee has met the students’ husbands, wives and children. “I feel like I am an adopted grandmother to them,” she said. “I remember one young woman who was going to an interview for a restaurant job. She said she’d never been in a restaurant and had no idea what to expect. So, I took her into my kitchen and we rehearsed for the interview.”
Picking up the reins from Coralee is a new committee headed by J. Gibson. The committee will be comprised of community members committed to the ideal that it is better to teach someone to fish than to simply give them a fish. Adhering to the high standards enforced by Coralee is one of the new committee’s prime objectives. Her previous work will be parsed into separate tasks to be assigned to committee members who have the talent to fulfill them, i.e. finances, interviews, coaching and seeking sponsorships to name a few.
In this school year, SAP is assisting 30 students with their university expenses. Their majors range from computer systems to gastronomy to medicine. Before a student is admitted into the program, they are recommended by their teachers and principals because of their outstanding grades and commitment to education. In addition to maintaining at least an 8.5 grade point average, they are each interviewed by SAP to determine financial need, what their family life is like, what sports and hobbies they are interested in and what their career goals are.
Coralee explained that the funding is fixed based upon the school and the major that the students are pursuing. They receive monthly stipends that they can use on tuition, books, lab costs, computers, materials and some transportation costs. Receipts must accompany all expenditures. Stipends range between $2500 pesos/semester and $1500 pesos/month. When a student is accepted into the SAP program, they are guaranteed to be helped through their university program and through their final year of social service.
According to Paula Haarvei, Treasurer of the Lake Chapala Society, in 2011, 15% of the LCS budget ($385,000 pesos) was used for the Student Aid Program and over 75% of that money came from donations and fund raising.
The next big fund raiser to benefit SAP as well as the other community education programs sponsored by LCS will be the Fiesta Latina held on February 4th, 2012 at the Lake Chapala Society. Mark your calendars. For more information on the fiesta, call Lois Cugini at 766-1790.