June 24, 2013
For Immediate Release
For additional information:
Chief Communications Officer
Clark College offers presidential scholarship to student
who overcame the odds
Ramona Vercher announced as the 2013-2014
Presidential Scholarship recipient
VANCOUVER, Wash. – Clark College 2013 graduate Ramona Vercher is the recipient of the 2013-2014 Community College President’s Award. The annual scholarship is given to a Clark College graduate who is transferring to a Washington State University Vancouver degree program; it provides full-time tuition for one year, renewable for one additional year, for a total of four semesters.
The award was announced by Clark College President Robert K. Knight at the 2013 Clark College Commencement ceremony on June 20 at the Sleep Country Amphitheater in Ridgefield, Wash. Vercher was selected from three finalists, all of whom have demonstrated leadership potential, are active in community service, and graduated with honors. The other two finalists, Jennifer Campbell and David Taub, will also receive $1,000 scholarships from the Clark College Foundation to continue their education. Knight said of the three finalists, “They are all sterling examples of what Clark College is about.”
Vercher, who is a resident of Vancouver, graduated with honors, earning an associate degree in business administration. A first-generation college graduate, she plans to major in business administration with a specialization in finance while attending WSU Vancouver.
While at Clark, Vercher served in a number of volunteer roles both on and off campus. She was a work-study tutor at the Student Learning Center helping Adult Basic Education (ABE), General Educational Development (GED), and English as a Second Language (ESL) students in all subjects. She was also a Classroom Tutor, assisting professors in the classroom, and part of Clark’s Homework Help program, where she assisted individual students. Within the greater community, her volunteer service has included work with the City of Vancouver’s Urban Youth and City of Vancouver’s Urban Forestry programs. Additionally, she helps run the charity begun by her family’s small business, Daddy D’s BBQ, providing Christmas presents to families in need.
Vercher credits her success to her parent’s work ethic and the strength they demonstrated in raising their family of nine children. Vercher says that while her parents were not able to go to college, they worked extremely hard to provide for their family, often struggling to make ends meet. She says this inspired her to want a better life for herself and her future family through education.
"Receiving this scholarship means everything in the world to me. I am beyond thankful that I was selected by President Knight and his committee,” said Vercher. “I am a first-generation college student, so to have this opportunity to continue my education is the biggest thing that has ever happened to me in my life. I am going to do big things through this scholarship. This definitely won't be the last you see of me."
In attendance at the Commencement ceremony was all of Ramona’s family: parents Louise and Donnie Vercher; her eight siblings including her brother Sherman Vercher, who just graduated from Western Oregon University; and 14 nieces and nephews to whom she is a role model. Also there was her longtime boyfriend Dwan James, also a Clark College student, who Vercher says was a huge support in seeing her through all the hard work. When President Knight announced her as the award winner, a huge “Vercher cheer” echoed though the amphitheater.
Watch the video to see Ramona talk about her experiences at Clark and to hear the "Vercher cheer."