Metropolitan Community College will graduate one of the first scholarship winners from a unique citywide program launched just this year.
Teeka Hodge, a 26-year-old Kansas City woman, is finishing up her associate in arts degree at MCC-Maple Woods this December, thanks in part to assistance from KC Scholars.
KC Scholars is a community collaboration, developed with input from 70 Kansas City partners, including MCC. It aims to help low- and modest-income high school students, as well as adult learners, finance and complete a college education. Hodge was one of the first adult learners to receive the award last May.
“I worked so hard,” Hodge said recently, happy to have her final exams behind her and looking forward to continuing her studies at Park University in January, where she will be pursuing a bachelor’s degree focused on social work.
Hodge started her postsecondary education at MCC-Maple Woods after graduating from Winnetonka High School in 2010 and completed 50 credit hours. But she put college on hold in 2013 after learning she was pregnant.
Her daughter is now 4, and Hodge is determined to be a good role model for her. She is grateful for the assistance of KC Scholars and the MCC family.
“The support at MCC is absolutely wonderful and the teachers were really helpful,” Hodge says. She was especially complimentary of the help provided by counselor Clayton Robinson. “Don’t do your journey alone — use your resources,” she advises.
Robinson sees a social services career as a good fit for Hodge.
“It is great that her passion and purpose for helping others has not changed despite her personal setbacks,” he says. “She has tremendous resilience and spirit for life, career and motherhood. Teeka has a huge heart and great compassion for helping others. …
“She will always be a special student to me, and I am honored to have provided services, support and guidance to her. She will do great things in the field.”
“It is incredible to see the ultimate goal of KC Scholars come to fruition,” says Beth Tankersley-Bankhead, executive director of KC Scholars.
KC Scholars provided the financial support Hodge needed to return to finish her degree. The adult learner’s scholarship is awarded to candidates 24 and older who have previously earned at least 12 college credits but did not receive a postsecondary degree. Awardees can receive up to $5,000 per year, paid directly to the college, renewable up to five years.
Metropolitan Community College is one of 17 colleges and universities available to KC Scholars.
“It is encouraging to watch students like Teeka take advantage of excellent scholarship opportunities like this to help them get their educational goals back on track,” says Kathrine Swanson, MCC vice chancellor of student success and engagement.
In addition to adult learners, KC Scholars also provides scholarships to ninth- and 11th-grade students. To date, 635 high school students and adult learners have received scholarships from KC Scholars. The next application cycle opens Jan. 1.