PICTURED, FROM LEFT: Rend Lake College President Terry Wilkerson with scholarship recipients Alexi Lowther (Webber Township), Evelyn Mendez (Benton), Jessica Murphy (Thompsonville), Megan Slover (Wayne City), Emma Robbins (Sesser-Valier), Keegan Walker (Waltonville), Makenzie Adams (Mt. Vernon Township), Shawn Hodge (Woodlawn), and Black Diamond H-D Owners Rodney Cabaness and Shad Zimbro. NOT PICTURED: Cicely Dawn Lefler (Zeigler-Royalton), Paige Corbitt (Christopher), William Timpner (Pinckneyville) and Roger Taylor-Lavoie (Hamilton County Senior). (Photo by Nathan Wheeler / RLC Public Information)
MARION, Ill. - Black Diamond Harley-Davidson and local community colleges teamed up for a fifth straight year to provide $45,000 in scholarship support to local high school students. The scholarships were awarded during a ceremony Saturday, April 27, at the Marion dealership.
Black Diamond H-D Owner Rodney Cabaness talked about the decision to start the scholarships five years ago.
"Back then we felt like it was the right thing to do to give back. But I think it's the result we've seen from having the scholarships that has caused it to perpetuate. The blessings just keep coming. The kids - you hear their stories of success ... as they go on to school and to four-year universities and it makes you want to keep doing it."
Cabaness said former scholarship recpients will write letters to update him and co-owner Shad Zimbro. He said some recipients even visit the shop to tell them in person. Many of them are students who would not have been able to go to college if it were not for the Black Diamond H-D scholarships.
"Some of the stories really hit home," Cabaness said.
In all, 45 local high students each received a $1,000 scholarship to go to their community college. Half of the scholarship is funded by Black Diamond and the other half is funded by the respective college.
"I just want to say good luck to you guys," Zimbro told the audience. "Rodney and I both went to junior colleges. We both went to Rend Lake. Our spouses went to junior colleges. It's a great place to start."
Cabaness talked to the crowd about reciprocity. Someone taught him the word years ago, he said, and he has since made it a part of his lifework.
"You just give back. You try to help someone else with the belief that it will inspire them to help someone. Then they'll help someone and eventually that comes back around. ... That's what helps make the world a better place."
Local students who received scholarships to attend Rend Lake College are:
SHAWN DAVID HODGE, Woodlawn High School
MAKENZIE ADAMS, Mt. Vernon High School
CICELY DAWN LEFLER. Zeigler-Royalton High School
JESSICA MURPHY, Thompsonville High School
PAIGE NICOLE CORBITT, Christopher High School
ALEXI LOWTHER, Webber Township High School
EMMA ROBBINS, Sesser-Valier High School
KEEGAN WALKER, Waltonville High School
MEGAN SLOVER, Wayne City High School
EVELYN MENDEZ, Benton High School
WILLIAM TIMPNER, Pinckneyville High School
ROGER TAYLOR-LAVOIE, Hamilton County High School