Thirty alumni of Hanna Center revisited the campus recently for Scholarship Day, applying for financial aid to help plans to earn AA, BA, MA, or doctorate degrees at a community college, a four-year university, or a trade school.
The Sisters of St. Francis Scholarship Program, named in honor of the sisters who served the Center for more than 50 years, was established in 1952 to ensure that graduates who qualified would be able to receive financial assistance as they pursued higher education. Over the years, Hanna Center has awarded scholarships to hundreds of former students. This year’s recipients will be announced next week.
Trish Goodwin, the Director of Transitional Programs and Alumni Relations, said the afternoon is one of her favorite days at the Center. It is an incredible opportunity to witness the growth of former students as they come back to share their stories and plans for their lives and academic futures, she said.
The results of the scholarship program have been excellent, Goodwin said. Former Hanna students have successfully graduated from dozens of higher education institutions, including St. John’s University, the University of California at Berkeley, Sonoma State University, Howard University, San Francisco State University, and more.
Tyree Tillis, class of 2021, was one attendee. He starts his third year at Clark Atlanta University in the fall, pursuing a degree in Business Administration. The young entrepreneur from Oakland has started his own clothing, TENTR (tentrcomfortclothing.com), in his sophomore year at Hanna. Today, after “plenty of trial and error,” many of the items sold through his website are sold out, and he has launched a nonprofit., which he hopes the scholarship will support. A member for the school’s cross-country team, Tillis and has managed to maintain an average GPA of 3.5.
Fellow grad Nathan G., class of 2021, is currently enrolled at Santa Rosa Junior College pursuing an associate degree in the Fire Technology Program. He’s also enrolled in SRJC’s Firefighter Academy, a Public Safety Training Center, and volunteers with the Schell-Vista Fire Department in Sonoma. With only one semester to go, Nathan applied for a Sisters of St. Francis Scholarship for help in finishing up his degree.
“The education that I received at Hanna set me up for success after graduating,” he said. “They always encouraged us to pursue a career and further our education.”
To qualify for a scholarship, alumni must successfully complete the Hanna Center program, demonstrate a desire to continue their education, complete a written application and appear before the scholarship committee for an interview.
Cameron Safarloo, CEO of Hanna Center, said he always looks forward to scholarship day. “It’s very exciting to see alumni returning to campus with already so many accomplishments,” he said. “We get to see the full circle of Hanna’s impact on these young lives. The pursuit of higher education represents just one more step in their already-successful journeys.”