For 16 years, the City of Hammond has worked to provide scholarship opportunities to residents looking for financial support to further their education. Students at Calumet College of St. Joseph (CCSJ) have utilized this scholarship to pursue careers in fields like law enforcement and psychology.
Brianna Servin heard about the scholarship from her older sister, who received the aid a few years before Servin graduated high school.
“The lady at the front helped with any questions I had in regards to supplying the packet we had to provide showing our residency. So she actually answered any questions and because my sister was already an applicant before, it was just an easy process. Overall, she could help me out with any other questions I had,” Servin said.
Servin, a current senior at CCSJ, feels the relationships she has built between her peers and professors have allowed her to gain useful experience from people who have been in the law enforcement field for years.
“They are awesome, especially in the field of criminal justice. I had a lot of different adjunct professors that taught the class valuable knowledge that you could only gain from being in the field itself. A lot of professors don’t just study the field but a lot of them have been in the field. Getting that kind of very close knowledge from somebody that has been a sergeant at the Hammond Police Department has been very helpful,” Servin said.
Thomas “Tommy” Rodriguez will be graduating from CCSJ debt-free due to a combination of Hammond’s College Bound Scholarship and a bowling scholarship.
“I'm able to go to a private college without worrying about the cost. I'll be debt-free when I graduate. It just allowed me to continue my own career. Since I am an athlete, I also got a scholarship for bowling, which helped me a lot with the College Bound Scholarship on top of that,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez plans to become a police officer and has already applied to the Hammond police department. He encourages others to do the same and feels his education at CCSJ has prepared him for a successful career in law enforcement.
“If you want to be a cop, if you want to study criminal justice, I would say go for it,” said Rodriguez. “CCSJ has a great criminal justice program. They have great professors, and they're willing to help you pursue your goal of doing whatever you want to do in the criminal justice field. You don't have to listen to what everybody or society is saying. If you want to do something, then go for it.”
Jasmine Arreola is also studying criminal justice, but plans to continue her education at mortuary school.
“I want to use my degree and go into crime scene investigation and then after that in the future I have plans of going to mortuary school to become an embalmer,” said Arreola. “I like doing makeup. I’ve always had an interest in it. I think it’s just also an all-around interesting career.”
In order to receive the scholarship, applicants must complete 40 hours of community service. Some students choose to split the time throughout the school year and summer before starting class. Others prefer to complete all of their community service hours in one or two weeks. Regardless of preference, there are plenty of opportunities in the area that qualify for the requirement.
“I volunteered at the Lost Marsh Golf Course doing maintenance stuff like cleaning and planting stuff, cleaning up the golf course, making it look nice, and fixing any holes that were made from golfing. Then I also volunteered at the library another year, which was this year. I mainly did filing, and helped sort stuff for events that they were going to do,” said Arreola.
Senior Ameer Lawrence is currently finishing up a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in criminal justice. For Lawrence, his time at CCSJ is only the beginning of his college career.
“After graduating, I plan to go to grad school and get my master's and doctorate in clinical psychology. Then after that I will go to law school to become an attorney or a judge,” said Lawrence.
Receiving a scholarship from the city of Hammond meant Lawrence could complete his bachelor’s degree debt-free.
Since its creation, the College Bound Scholarship has allowed Hammond residents to pursue dream careers without worrying about paying off debt. Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott takes pride in the program and enjoys watching Hammond residents thrive during their time in college.
“I am extremely proud of our College Bound Scholarship Program which offers high school graduates a four-year scholarship to an Indiana-accredited college or university,” stated Mayor McDermott. “Since the inception of this program in 2006, we’ve had approximately 7500 students take advantage of this phenomenal opportunity.”