Prairie State College marks 60th anniversary with Saturday gala

  Prairie State College. (Photo by Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
 
Rishonda Allen, a 2004 graduate of Homewood-Flossmoor High School, wants to be a nurse, and the Prairie State College Foundation is helping her meet that goal. 
 
Prairie State College will mark its 60th anniversary with a gala celebration on Saturday, Oct. 20, hosted by the PSC Foundation. This annual event will serve as a fundraiser for scholarships.
 
The atrium on the college’s main campus, 202 South Halsted St. in Chicago Heights, will be turned into a center for celebration opening for cocktails at 6 p.m. followed by a 7 p.m. gourmet dinner. The gala will feature a live auction, choice raffles, dancing and a special “Stand Up for Scholarships” presentation. All proceeds from the event will benefit student scholarships.
 
Allen earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Purdue University-Calumet. She’s working in social services. Her patient load is the mentally ill. She’s also a single mother raising an 11-year-old daughter and is still paying off her student loans for that bachelor’s degree.
 
Allen saved what she could to pay tuition at Prairie State. She admits “at times it was tough. There was a lot of financial hardship.” She wrote a letter to the PSC Foundation and it changed her life. 
 
Juggling work and home obligations was hard, but “the tuition was one of the biggest obstacles,” Allen told the foundation committee. That she was given financial resources to complete her degree has given her a new drive.
 
“They don’t even know me, but they have said, ‘I have faith in her.’ That means so much. I intend to pay-it-forward when I can,” Allen said.
 
Allen is one of the thousands of students the PSC Foundation has assisted over the years with tuition, books and supplies. In addition, the foundation can provide financial support that assists students with funds for college projects.
 
“We have many students on campus who would not receive an education if it wasn’t for Prairie State College,” said Foundation Executive Director Deborah Havighorst. “The Foundation bridges the gap between what students receive from financial aid and what they can actually afford. I’ve had students tell me they would have to take a semester off because they were $200 short. The foundation is here to help keep these students in school and help them earn their degrees.”
 
Havighorst said over the last few years the foundation has continuously increased the scholarships awarded each semester, and yet the applications continue to flood in.
 
“We need the community’s support now, more than ever, so we encourage people to join us in celebrating the college’s 60th anniversary and help raise scholarships for our deserving students.”
 
For tickets or to learn about sponsorship opportunities, visit give.classy.org/PSCGala. Donations in any amount are accepted. For more information, contact the PSC Foundation at 708-709-3631.

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