The Allan Hancock College Foundation’s 45th annual awards banquet was an evening to remember for hundreds of students, especially Jesus Sanchez, who received the prestigious Marian Hancock Scholarship on Thursday. “It was the best moment of my life,” said Sanchez. “When I was receiving a standing ovation, I felt like I was in a movie. I was so proud because I felt like everyone in the room and at the college believed in me.”
The $10,000 gift is named in honor of the late Marian Hancock, the wife of Captain G. Allan Hancock, for whom the college is named. Mrs. Hancock wanted the gift bestowed on a student who demonstrated a commitment to continuing his or her education, and who had shown great promise and dedication.
The scholarship committee selected Sanchez for representing “all that was right with education.” Sanchez has worked since the age of nine to help support a disabled father, a working mother and 11 siblings. He started at Hancock in 2009 in order to pursue a better life. He enrolled in a noncredit English as a second language course.
Despite beginning to learn to read and write English six years ago, Sanchez has a 4.0 grade point average in 133.5 credit units. Sanchez graduates today with high honors and will receive an associate of arts degree in liberal arts-transfer: arts and humanities. He will attend UC Berkeley in the fall.
“I was not sure where I could afford to live in college and figured I would have to get a job,” said Sanchez . “Now with the scholarship, I can live in the dorms and focus on my education. It is a huge relief.”
Sanchez plans to become an English as a second language instructor, possibly at Hancock, to pay it forward and help others the way he has been helped.
The awards banquet was a record-breaking event. A total of 413 scholarships, worth nearly $480,000, were awarded to 266 students; all three smashed the previous records. More than 800 students, relatives, friends, donors and community members attended the banquet in the Joe White Memorial Gymnasium at the college’s Santa Maria campus.
Nearly 180 donors from the community, another record, funded scholarships to both returning and transferring students. Scholarships ranged from $500 to $10,000.
Eight new scholarships were presented this year, including the Pass It On! award and the Richard Lim Amido, Jr. Memorial Scholarship. The latter was established in memory of the late Allan Hancock College counselor, who passed away last March at the age of 38. Amido graduated from Hancock before earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Cal Poly. A first-generation college student transferring to Cal Poly in the fall received $500 in Amido’s memory.