Scholarship to help raise mental illness awareness

Echo staff report

Kerry Nolte

The Rochester Community and Technical College Foundation Board of Directors has announced the creation of the Kerry Nolte Memorial Scholarship.

Roger and Maggie O’Connell-Nolte’s daughter, Kerry Rita Nolte, was an RCTC student from August 2007 to May 2008, and she earned an Occupational Skills diploma.

She then attended from January 2009 through December 2011 and was awarded an Associate in Science degree in Professional Studies posthumously. Kerry enjoyed creating artwork and photographing local scenery and wildlife. Kerry also volunteered for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, helping to educate the public about mental illness.

According to NAMI, one in four adults between the ages of 18 and 24 have been diagnosed with a mental illness. Depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and bipolar disorder are among the most prevalent diagnoses, which all considerably affect a student’s ability to succeed academically. By establishing this fund, the Noltes wish to raise awareness of how negative stereotypes impact the mentally ill.

“RCTC is an incredibly supportive environment for students making major transitions in life, said RCTC Interim President Mary Davenport. “For students with mental illness and/or experiencing mental illness in their family, reaching educational goals can contribute to a full life, a good job, pride, and long lasting friendships.”

The  Kerry Nolte Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to a deserving RCTC student who is dealing with mental illness or has a family member who is dealing with mental illness.

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