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MCEF Scholarships Making a Difference!

An MCEF Scholarship Helps Launch
An Amazing Journey of Self-Discovery

Read Jenny Zhang’s story—


April 22, 2018

Dear Friends of the Madison County Education Foundation,

How time has flown! Around this time last year, I was applying for this scholarship, eagerly hoping I could be a recipient. Now, almost a year later, I am finishing up classes and preparing for my finals. They say ‘time flies when you’re having fun’ and I cannot agree more. I have thoroughly enjoyed my first year at the University of Virginia and am constantly amazed that I only have a few short weeks until this school year comes to an end.

This academic year hasn’t always been as smooth as I anticipated. Prior to starting my first semester at college, I naively thought everything would come easy as it did in high school. What I realized quickly was how much more challenging classes were than I initially thought, and I quickly realized I needed to adjust my study habits to accommodate to how college operated. During my first semester, I found myself stressing so much because of my lack of skill in managing my time wisely.

To me, that first semester served as a representation of growth and discovery. I learned so much about myself in those first few months, and I grew tremendously from improving and bettering myself. Those first few weeks in college, I had so much free time on my hands and I was not managing it wisely.  I quickly learned to change my schedule to study and work on assignments more. Once I realized and adapted, college became a lot easier for me! Now that I have a better understanding of how college operates. I have a better strategy for studying and am performing the way I want. I truly enjoy all my classes—I have taken, and still am taking a large array of classes that are of interest to me! College has allowed me to have an opportunity to experiment and explore what my interests are and aren’t. Additionally, I have formed strong relationships with my professors and feel so much more comfortable speaking to them about things pertaining to their course, as well as other interesting topics!

Additionally, I have grown as a person by associating myself with people I have similar interests with. Immediately entering college, I found a group of wonderful friends who all have their passions, which they exude. I have also immersed myself in different clubs and organizations I’m passionate about, ranging from a club sport team at UVA to volunteering organizations. The friends I have met through these organizations have all have helped to shape me into a better person and I learn so much from them!

Thank you for believing in me and investing in my academic success with this scholarship! Receiving a great education at this wonderful university is an enormous privilege that I never take for granted, and little moments throughout my day remind me of how grateful I am! I am eager for what the future holds for me. I am excited to finish this semester and begin my second year in the fall!



Jenny Zhang

Getting to college is one of “life’s next steps.”

Think back. Getting to college is one of “life’s next steps.”

Last spring, 2017, the Madison County Education Foundation awarded NINE scholarships to deserving Madison High School seniors. They helped students take the next BIG step.

Mikayla Gardiner-Alger, a 2017 scholarship winner, wrote the Foundation a letter with these key points:

“I am writing not only to thank the Madison County Education Foundation for the scholarship they offered me in the 2017-18 school year, but to thank the foundation for the windows of opportunity it gave me. The money enabled me to attend college at an affordable cost.

“Being a college student means I am able to expand my educational and career goals. Attending college is a privilege that many cannot afford. Federal financial aid exists to those who appear to need it most and Pell grants are issued. However, since a Pell grant only totals about $5800, and many colleges cost more than that annually, college is still unaffordable. Colleges offer their own financial aid, but rarely is it enough to keep the student from going into debt.

“The support of groups like the Education Foundation is extremely important. It maintains an educated society and gives deserving individuals the opportunity to meet their full potential. Not only does this support give students a better chance of attending an affordable college, it supports the community by helping the education level in the county rise. Students, like myself, who strive for excellence in school, but come from a low-income family that cannot afford college costs, greatly benefit from local donors who offer scholarships.

“I’d like to thank MCEF and all who made contributions that make these scholarships possible.”

Mikayla Gardiner-Alger
Business Administration student
Germanna Community College

2016 Adult Learner Scholarship

Bill Hinkes presents Raven Turner with the 2016 Adult Learner Scholarship Award
Bill Hinkes presents Raven Turner with the 2016 Adult Learner Scholarship Award

Raven Turner is on a mission to help teach students important life skills she wished she had when she was growing up. Now, thanks to the Madison County Education Foundation (MCEF), she is one step closer. “I decided to go in the Family/Consumer Science to give students the opportunity to learn the necessary life skills such as balancing a check book and preparing for college” said Turner.

In a presentation, on Sunday, July 17, 2016 held at the Madison United Methodist Church, Bill Hinkes, Vice President of the MCEF presented Raven the 2016 Adult Learner Scholarship in the amount of $500.00. This money will help Raven with earning her Master’s Degree in Education and in obtaining her teacher certification from Liberty University.

After graduating from Madison County High School in 2011, Raven returned home having earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Bridgewater College. However, she didn’t really think about continuing her education. According to Raven, “the decision to return to college was not an easy decision because of the time and cost involved. I know this opportunity will allow me to help those kids who may have thought college was out of the reach.”

Raven is currently the Coordinator for the Skyline Cap Project Discovery helping students prepare for post high school life. She is also a cheerleading coach at Madison County High School (MCHS). As a lifelong Madison resident, Raven credits her love for education from amazing teachers at MCHS, such as Dawn Tucker and Jayne Penn-Hollar. Raven stated, “Once I get my certification, I’m so excited to work in the classroom, hopefully in Madison, to give back to a community that has given so much to me!”

The Madison County Education Foundation is proud to support Raven in achieving her dreams and hopeful that Raven’s story will inspire more adults to finish their education and reach for their goals, no matter how far away they may seem. MCEF stands ready to offer financial support to those adults who are considering furthering their education.