Before even coming to Carthage, Carolyn Ludecke ’17 knew what passions she wanted to pursue. She just didn’t know how to make attending Carthage a reality. “My senior year of high school, I was incredibly upset that I couldn’t go to Carthage, the college of my dreams, due to finances.”
Right from the beginning, her monthly payment was a constant concern. “The July before my freshman year, my birthday present was that month’s tuition payment. I was able to make it month-by-month — I was paying for school on my own — but I had the back-up of my parents if I needed a little extra money occasionally. My mom lost her job in May, so that safety net no longer existed as I made my way into my sophomore year. Luckily I received the Bridge Grant again and I was once again able to re-enroll in Carthage.”
The Bridge Grant made enrolling and continuing at Carthage go from impossible to possible for Carolyn, who continues to work to pay tuition. Every dollar of financial aid is time that she can focus on her studies instead of working. “The Bridge Grant made it affordable and I can’t thank anyone enough for that.”
Carolyn has become very active in the campus activities, taking full advantage of her time. “Freshman year I tried a lot of clubs, but the only one I went to repeatedly was Swing Dancing Club. This year, I have Swing Society and Wave Radio. I also go to events that fit into my schedule, such as the movies they show, Casino Night, dances. As a history major, I attend many lectures.”
After graduation Carolyn wants to put both her communication and history majors to use, advertising for a museum like the Smithsonian.
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In his senior year of high school, Rami Fakhoury ’22 was the number one pitcher on the varsity baseball team. He wanted to find a college with excellent academics, top athletics programs, and was close to home. That search led him to Carthage.
“My time at Carthage has been incredible. Besides the beautiful campus, I’ve greatly enjoyed the close-knit community and friendly student body and faculty.”
Remi’s path to Carthage has not always been easy.
“My family has had many financial hardships in the last decade and this scholarship means a lot to all of us. Most parents want to do as much for their kids as they possibly can and it has been challenging to see my parents feel as they haven’t done enough. Through these hardships, I’ve learned that just because you are in a bad situation doesn’t mean you have to stay there. I am motivated to keep working hard and this award has given me extra encouragement and affirmation to keep going.”
“This means more than you know, and I am and will always be incredibly thankful. Thank you for the difference you are making in the lives of students like myself.”
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When Jillian Kirschbaum’s home caught fire three weeks before her high school graduation, her parents had to use money set aside for her college tuition to pay for the repairs. Devastated, Jillian gave up hopes of attending Carthage — even her acceptance letter was burned in the fire.
“My whole world was turned upside down,” she said. “It was three weeks before my senior year ended and my family was living in a hotel.”
Jillian made plans to stay home and possibly attend her local community college that fall. Everything changed, though, when Jillian and her dad met with the Financial Aid Office at Carthage. They learned of a Bridge Fund, a fund that provides emergency aid for students facing financial crises.
Because of the Bridge Fund, Jillian was able to begin her freshman year at Carthage.
“My dad and I were sitting in the office crying,” she said. “Even my dad was crying. The Bridge Fund has helped me get through college, and without it, I wouldn’t be here.”
“Carthage is more than a college. The students, faculty and staff strive for success for not only themselves, but for the entire community,” she said. “Carthage is a support system and family. I am so grateful that through hard work, motivation from those surrounding me, and the generous support of alumni donors, that I am able to take part in the Carthage experience.”
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During his junior year, Logan Dolehide ’18 and his family experienced an unimaginable tragedy.
“My father was driving home from refereeing a water polo match when he was shot and killed in the crossfire of some type of gang conflict.”
Although Logan was close to graduating with a near-perfect GPA when the tragedy occurred, the loss of his father and the family’s primary provider threatened to derail his education.
“This Bridge Scholarship has helped me immensely in reducing the financial stress that this tragedy has caused, and in turn just easing mine and my family’s emotional turmoil.”
“My father would be so proud of what I have accomplished thus far and I know he will be watching as I continue to learn and grow in the future.”
Logan is currently working for an investment management company in the Greater Chicago Area.