Fund established to help local high school students pay for college books

Banning -- A $2,500 donation by an anonymous donor was matched Wednesday by a local service club to help low-income students pay for books so they can attend Mt. San Jacinto College classes in the Pass area.

Eugene Kadow, president of the Kiwanis Club of Banning, presented a $2,500 check to Kenneth Sandefur, chairman of the Friends of Mt. San Jacinto College, during a Kiwanis Club meeting at The Lakes senior housing development in Banning.

“The biggest obstacle for a lot of students who want to attend college is cost,” Kadow, who is also a college trustee, said. “MSJC is removing that obstacle for high school students. They won’t have to pay as much for gas, because they can take the new classes being offered at Banning High, or other courses offered at Beaumont High. They won’t have to pay tuition, because MSJC is waiving them for high school students. And with this donation, they won’t have to pay for books.”

Sandefur, a Kiwanis Club member, said the Friends of Mt. San Jacinto College has been working closely with Banning Unified, MSJC and officials from Banning and Beaumont to get more courses for residents of the Pass area.

“We’re building momentum for higher education in the Pass,” Sandefur said. “MSJC has opened a service center here, is now expanding its course offerings and we are working to open a campus on the 48 acres the college owns in Banning.

“This donation will help us establish an endowment for high school students to pay for books. I am proud to be a part of this and proud to be a part of Kiwanis knowing we are helping enhance the lives by bringing higher education to residents of the area.”

MSJC opened the San Gorgonio Pass Service Center in March. Students can take placement tests, talk to counselors and register for school in the center on Ramsey Street across from Sizzler.

The college, which has offered a host of courses at Beaumont High School for years, will begin offering classes at Banning High school starting in the fall. Classes being offered include College Success, Early Childhood Education and Beginning ESL (English as a Second Language).

The classes at both campuses are held in the evenings. They are open to adults and to high school students who want to receive college credits while still finishing high school.

Sandefur said he is seeking more donations to help boost the endowment for disadvantaged youth to buy textbooks.

For more information on donations, call Sandefur at 951-764-8344.

For information on college courses, call the San Gorgonio Pass Service Center at 951-922-1327.