The gift of education

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The Cape Fear Community College Foundation raised $225,000 for student scholarships from those attending the 11th annual Gift of Education luncheon Wednesday, May 18.

The fundraiser’s keynote speaker was Mary Ellen Bonczek, sr. vice president and chief nurse executive at New Hanover Regional Medical Center. Bonczek, who runs the hospital’s nursing team, spoke about access to opportunities and partnership.

Student speakers included Capt. Addison Palanza, a Wilmington native and former U. S. Army combat artillery officer. Palanza, who is also an attorney, was medically retired in 2012 because of injuries to his back sustained during combat in Iraq. He is enrolled in the Cape Fear Community College’s boat building program as part of his transition back into civilian life.

Other student speakers were Angelina Smith and Joanne Demers. Smith, mother of an autistic child, can realize a lifelong dream of earning her living by fixing cars after graduating from the college’s automotive program. Demers graduated last week with associate’s degrees in accounting, business development and general education. — Pat Bradford

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