Three GPC Students Win ASIST Scholarships06/13/2013
Contact: Beverly James
Author: Beverly James
For Immediate Release
Georgia Perimeter College Decatur Campus students Kenneth Banks and Devora Jerkins hadn’t been in a classroom in decades, but both yearned to better themselves. Alpharetta Center student Bruce Bochicchio retired as a police officer and was ready to begin the second half of his life.
Three Georgia Perimeter College students were recently rewarded for their hard work, passion and commitment to their education. The students won Executive Women International Atlanta Chapter’s ASIST scholarship. Executive Women International has awarded scholarships to GPC students since 1996.
The scholarship—Adult Students in Scholastic Transition—awards each student $2,000. The scholarship supports non-traditional students who are pursuing higher education. Bochicchio is also eligible to win an additional national EWI scholarship worth $2,500.
Banks, a computer science major, had flunked out of college courses in the past and focused on serving his country as a combat medic in the United States Army. When he became a father to two daughters, Banks decided it was time to give college another shot.
“I took one course during the summer and I did well. That built my confidence, so I decided to take more classes and really set a goal of earning a degree,” said Banks, 35, who plans to transfer to Georgia Institute of Technology and major in computer science. “I was blown away when EWI told me that I had won the scholarship. The money will allow me to focus on school and take some of the pressure off of trying to pay bills, support my girls and pay for school.”
It was a difficult divorce and retirement as a police officer that propelled Bochicchio, a business administration major, to enroll at GPC. With four of his six children currently in college, Bochicchio plans to transfer to Georgia State University and earn a bachelor’s degree in business and economics. The scholarship, he said, was a gift that makes his future brighter.
“The scholarship will make a real impact, because now I can graduate spring 2014,” he said. “This gives me the confidence to continue my education and forge a new life for myself.”
Jerkins, a widow, became a wife and mother at 16. Putting her education aside, she focused on raising her children and helping others through her church. But her husband never let her forget her dreams of getting an education and giving back to her community in a larger way.
In 2007, Jerkins earned a high school diploma and the couple started a nonprofit to provide a haven for women leaving domestic abuse and those recently released from prison. “The organization, Perfect Heart Home for Women and Children, allows me to help other women be made whole again so that they can have healthy families,” she said.
By 2008, Jerkins enrolled at Georgia Perimeter and started taking classes in social work. Unfortunately, her husband died just as her dreams were coming true. “I was devastated, but I knew that I had to keep pushing ahead to get my education so that I could help these families,” Jerkins said. “That is why I am overwhelmed with gratitude for this scholarship. The ASIST scholarship has been a blessing not only to me, but also to the families that I will serve.”
Executive Women International brings together key individuals from diverse businesses for the purpose of promoting member firms, enhancing personal and professional development, and encouraging community involvement. The global organization has more than 5,000 members. For more information on the local chapter, visit www.ewiatlanta.org.
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Georgia Perimeter College, the largest state college of the University System of Georgia, serves approximately 24,000 students through four campuses and several sites in metro Atlanta. For additional information, visit www.gpc.edu.