The 12th Annual Bryan Opportunity Scholarship Program Dinner successfully raised over $245,000 for students the evening of April 11th, helping make Bryan College accessible to qualified Tennessee students with significant financial need. The program guarantees that academically eligible students will receive scholarship and/or grant funds to meet the cost of tuition at Bryan College. Since its inception, over $2,000,000 has been raised, and over 275 students have benefited.
Keneisha Love (‘20, Nursing) shared with attendees how the BOP has affected her life.
I grew up in a single mother household with two younger siblings, so financial instability was the plot of most of my childhood… My mother instilled in me from a very early age that debt-free college was only going to be an option if I maintained good grades or/and excelled in athletics. So, I worked hard in the classroom and on the court, because I know a college degree was something I really wanted to achieve.
Keneisha reflected on how, upon deciding on Bryan, she knew that a significant portion of her tuition would still need to be paid, even after academic scholarships. She also knew that her mother (still raising two children) would be unable to pay, and her summer fast food job would not be enough. She began seriously considering student loans. That’s when she was told that she qualified for the Bryan Opportunity Program.
“I was at a loss for words… I knew that only God could have provided in such a way for me and my family,” Keneisha said.
But Keneisha’s story continues beyond simply the financial support provided by the program –
At a dinner like this, two years ago, a couple…was sitting at their table, and they made a choice. They made a choice to go above and beyond just listening to the night’s entertainment and enjoying their meal. They decided that instead of just listening to some college student talk about their testimony, they were going to do something more. They decided to personally invest in a few of the students that were pictured at their table. That couple was Ruth and Ralph Green, and that student was me. They committed to praying for me before they even knew me. Eventually, they reached out to me and began to build a relationship with me. They sent me emails, letters, snack baskets… encouraging words… they poured into me any way that they could. They even came to support me at my basketball games. But the most heartwarming thing of all that they did was invite me into their family. They’ve had me over for Sunday dinner. They’ve invited me to go to church with them. They have truly exceeded the expectations of “donors” for a scholarship. They have loved me in a way that I needed more than anything while being away from home. They became my family and my true home away from home… None of this would have been possible without the Bryan Opportunity Program [which] involves loving others and building relationships with the next generation.
In addition to Keneisha’s moving testimony, guests were treated to a performance by Ernie Haase & Signature Sound, one of the nation’s most popular Southern Gospel quartets. The group is both Grammy-nominated and GMA Dove Award-winning, with multiple certified gold and platinum DVDs. Ms. Mary Brown (‘17, Director of the Bryan College Community Music School) also entertained guests on the harp. Special recognition was given to the Vogel School of Engineering, which had been officially dedicated that same morning.
Thanks to all who made the night a rousing success!
To learn more about the Bryan Opportunity Scholarship Program, click here.
To learn how you can be involved in supporting the Bryan Opportunity program, please contact Director of Advancement, Janice Pendergrass, at firstname.lastname@example.org .