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2014 Winter Newsletter

Graduating Student “ Pays it Forward ”

Joanna_PachockaThe Foundation received an unexpected surprise at its Donor Recognition event on May 1. Tunxis student and guest speaker Joanna Pachocka announced to the crowd that she would donate $1,000 for a Tunxis student scholarship in 2015. Pachocka fought back tears as she talked about how important giving back to the Foundation was to her and how happy she was to be able to help another student.

Pachocka lost her job after 19 years working at Travelers Insurance. She wasn’t sure what her future would hold, but she knew she wanted to build websites and provide sources of income for companies online. She also knew she needed to go back to college.

Pachocka loved Tunxis the minute she stepped foot on campus. She recalls, “Tunxis was so inviting, the teachers were so supportive and I just loved going there.” During her second semester Pachocka applied for the Tunxis Scholarship and received $1,000. She was so touched by the generosity of the Foundation, and after reflecting on her time at Tunxis and how it had affected her life, she decided she wanted to help someone fulfill their dreams of an education. “There were all these young adults there that [I felt] needed the money more than I did and I was very deeply touched,” said Pachocka.

“I said, next year I want to be the one giving the money. Pachocka believes that education is valuable to everyone whether it’s a student fresh out of high school, someone who has never been to college but wants to get their foot in the door, or even older adults in the middle of their careers who want to keep up with changing technology and workplace demands. “Scholarships are so important, especially since college is so expensive now,” said Pachocka. “Even some Tunxis students can’t afford the price. When they start college they don’t make much money, and it is a relief not to have that burden while you’re going to school.”

The Foundation greatly appreciates Joanna Pachoka’s donation, and encourages Tunxis alumni to think about giving back to students in need.

If you are interested in hearing more about ways you can help,
please contact the Foundation at 860.773.1357.

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Foundation Awards Close to $50,000 to Students

Tunxis held its 31st annual Student Achievement Recognition Ceremony on May 22 to acknowledge the successes and efforts of its students. This year, the Foundation recognized over 50 students with scholarships totaling almost $50,000.

Scholarship night is a special evening not only for the students who receive the scholarships, but also for the Foundation and its donors. “It is the culmination of the year for the Foundation,” said Tim Fitch, Tunxis Foundation past board president, who announced the Foundation’s awards. “After spending 365 days raising money, we give away a lot of it.” Through its donors, the Foundation is able to provide scholarships so that students can pursue their education, realize their dreams and build a better life for themselves and their families.

On behalf of the Tunxis Foundation, we would like to congratulate all scholarship recipients and wish them the best in their continuing academic pursuits. We would also like to thank all of the individuals, families and companies that provided scholarships to those deserving students. Without the support of our donors, many Tunxis students could not afford the quality education Tunxis Community College has to offer.

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A History of Giving Comes Full Circle with Tunxis Student

herbie_browneHerbert Browne IV is an extraordinary student with a long family history at Tunxis Community College. His great-grandmother, the late Sophia Naaman-Browne, was one of the founders of Tunxis Community College. The Hartford Courant reported she was the first African American woman to sit on the Board of Education. His great-grandmother and great-grandfather, the late Herbert J. Browne, Sr., a retired vice president of Plainville Electro Plating, lived in Plainville for over 50 years and created a scholarship fund at Tunxis Community College in the 1980s. In 1977, the couple was jointly awarded the Plainville Citizens of the Year Awards for their outstanding participation in the political, humanitarian, and scholarly arenas of the lives of all Plainville and many Connecticut residents.

Their great-grandson, Herbert J. Browne, IV is currently a student at Tunxis, majoring in marketing and a Foundation scholarship recipient working on fulfilling his dreams of opening his own marketing company.

Browne spoke emotionally at this year’s Economic Conference when he told the crowd that life gets in the way sometimes, which can hinder academic progress. “I want to thank the Tunxis Community College Foundation for providing the funds to help me to continue my education—it is very important to my family and me,” said Browne, who doesn’t want financial troubles to slow him down. Browne’s family has had its share of ups and downs, with several family members who struggle to pay the bills even while working over 60 hours a week. “You just never know what potential could be unlocked when a person does not have to stress about how they can afford to pay for school,”said Browne, who acknowledged that pursuing a quality education will break this cycle and lead to a successful and happier life in the future.

“Foundations are built by the support of self-sacrificing people like you who care for others success,” he continued. “So as a recipient of this scholarship, I want to say thank you for your support and please continue supporting this great Foundation so another life can be touched as well.”

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2014 Economic Conference in Review

james_smithTunxis Community College Foundation held its annual Economic Conference fundraising breakfast on October 9 at the Farmington Club. The breakfast, which raised over $50,000 to benefit Tunxis students, was made possible through the Foundation’s generous donors, including lead sponsors Stanley Black & Decker, Pratt & Whitney and Webster Bank. The keynote speaker, James C. Smith, chairman and CEO of Webster Bank, spoke on “What Connecticut Can Do to Begin Growing Again.” In his comments, Smith offered up his prescription for some of the steps Connecticut should take to get its own financial house in order and encourage business and employment growth.

“This year’s topic was very thought-provoking and appropriate in light of the upcoming gubernatorial election,” said Chuck Pagano, Tunxis Foundation Board president. “Best of all, the Foundation benefited from the generosity of its sponsors and donors which will help dozens of Tunxis students.”

2014_economic_conferenceGuest speaker and Tunxis Community College student Herbert Browne IV, a Foundation scholarship recipient, spoke about his aspirations and goals in life, and shared the story of his family’s financial struggles, reflective of the lives of so many Tunxis students. He went on to explain how the financial support he received from the Foundation helped change his life. “Unfortunately, life gets in the way and some students, like me, acquire debts that hinder their progress. It is up to the person to decide if that is going to stop them,” said Browne. “The reason I work so hard is because I am tired. I am tired of seeing my mom work over 60 hours a week and still struggle with her bills. I’m tired of my dad worrying about the cost of his heart medicine. I’m tired of money being an obstacle between where I am and where I want to be.”

Browne’s story is just one of many that are made possible from the funds raised at the Economic Conference. The Foundation is here to help students, just like him. Browne, who is majoring in marketing, plans to graduate next year and move on to a four-year college. To thank Smith and Webster Bank for their support, Pagano announced that the Foundation was creating the Jim Smith/Webster Bank scholarship which will benefit two Tunxis students, totaling $3,000 over two years for each. All of the Foundation’s scholarships are granted in May at the annual Scholarship Awards Night.

For those who were not able to attend the conference, the Foundation is still accepting donations to benefit students of Tunxis through programming and scholarships.

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One Scholarship Changes a Life

Mit Patel is forever grateful to the anonymous donor who provided a scholarship that will pay for his entire education
at Tunxis. Patel is majoring in Engineering Science and plans to transfer to the University of Connecticut after he graduates with his associate degree.
Patel said, “The financial assistance that this scholarship has provided me will allow me to concentrate more of my time on studying.” Patel also said that this gift has inspired him to help others and work hard to make his donor proud.
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A Dynamic Duo Retires From Tunxis and Brings Light to the Foundation

BencivengoMary Bencivengo and Ruth DeLeo have worked at Tunxis Community College for over five decades combined! Both retired this past June, but their parting gifts, totaling close to $13,000, will help Tunxis students pursue their dreams. In honor of their retirements, donors and well-wishers gave close to $3,000 to the Mary Bencivengo Allied Health Scholarship and general fund, which included a celebration at Hawk’s Landing Country Club on May 28 for the two retirees.
A few weeks later, Bencivengo presented the Foundation with another check for $5,000 that was collected for her retirement, a gift that she and her husband agreed to match for her scholarship fund. This was great news for the Foundation and allied health students at Tunxis.
Bencivengo served at Tunxis for 36 years, most recently as division director of the allied health department. She helped raise thousands of dollars for the Foundation during her tenure, most of which was used for allied health and dental hygiene students in need. “The Foundation is important because it supports students’ scholarly endeavors, academic programing and encourages learning beyond the classroom,” said Bencivengo. “It also gives the College a window of opportunity to engage with our community which is essential to its mission.”
“Students are always my first concern. They are why we are all here,” said DeLeo, an administrative assistant for the allied health and dental hygiene departments, who had worked at Tunxis for 25 years. “The Foundation is all about helping students complete their education through the scholarships itawards.” Bencivengo and DeLeo are now volunteering for the Foundation.
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Our Mission
Tunxis Community College Foundation raises funds to provide support for the students, programs and services of the College.