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Campus News

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Promising Futures

12/17/2019 11:54 am

Dec 17, 2019 | Catalyst, Rock Solid Stories

In May of 2020, the first two Rockford Promise Scholars to attend Rockford University will graduate. Jennifer Rosales (left) and Alondra Torres (right), both alumnae of Jefferson High School, are grateful and humbled by the unique experience they share as Rockford Promise Scholars.

Rockford University and Rock Valley College joined in a formal collaboration in 2015 with Rockford Promise, committing to provide tuition remission to selected area students. In 2016, Alondra and Jennifer received the first two full-time four year scholarships, along with three other students who received scholarships to attend Rock Valley College.

Rockford Promise is a non-profit, location-based scholarship program that seeks to improve the local economy by offering full-tuition scholarships to deserving graduates of Rockford Public Schools in District 205. Modeled after other Promise programs around the nation, the organization seeks to increase educational attainment in the Rockford community while providing economic incentives for residents and businesses to locate in the Rockford region. In addition to full-tuition college scholarships, Rockford Promise also supports scholars with various community mentorship opportunities, academic advising, and meaningful social connections to ensure they not only earn their degrees but also gain a strong foundation toward a successful career.

When asked what it meant to her to have this opportunity, Jennifer stated, “Even though I knew I wanted to go to college, graduating high school was one of the highest goals I had for myself and look at where I am today, I am about to graduate from college in less than a year. I would not have been able to achieve this without the help of everyone that has been there for me, including the members of the Rockford Promise committee, Rockford University staff and faculty, and my family.” Jennifer, a human development major, quickly learned the value of finding ways to engage outside of the classroom. She participated in the Alan Hutchcroft Alternative Spring Break, showcases her athletic talents on the Women’s Soccer Team, and served as a Welcome Week leader for incoming students. This all while maintaining excellent grades and being named to the Dean’s and Distinguished Scholars lists. Planning for her future after graduation, she is committed never to stop learning and hopes to stand out in her profession by attending a graduate school counseling program.

For Alondra, also an honor student with an outstanding academic record, will graduate with a major in biochemistry and a minor in French, the significance of being able to attend college with the financial burdens lifted is evident. She shares, “I am grateful that Rockford Promise gave me the chance to attend Rockford University. Thanks to this scholarship, I have been able to make the most out of my college career by searching for endless opportunities to grow as a student and a member of this community.” Alondra has demonstrated this gratitude by not hesitating to become involved in clubs and organizations on campus, including several Global Affairs events, serving as a Student Government Association representative and Welcome Week leader. Alondra has participated twice in the Alan Hutchcroft Alternative Spring Break, played all four years for the soccer team, and is a member of the Student Government Association. An experience Alondra cites as one of the most meaningful was being able to visit Paris, France in January of 2018, as part of her French Language and Culture Abroad course and with the help of the University’s Student Opportunity Fund. Alondra looks forward to continuing her education and hopes to one day work toward her Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree.

Rockford University’s commitment to Rockford Promise has continued to increase since 2016, with an investment of more than $220,000. Four new Rockford Promise scholars came to Rockford University this fall, joining their eight counterparts. With growing community support, the program is living up to its moniker, truly providing great promise for area students and outstanding soon-to-be alumni in Jennifer and Alondra.