NEWARK, Ohio, May 3, 2017 –Matthew Covic, 28, has waited for his college graduation day for 10 years. That day will finally come on Friday (May 5) when Covic graduates from Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) with a degree in digital media design (DMD). However, without the help of the Park National Bank and Associates' Next Generation Challenge scholarship this would not have been possible.
Covic grew up in Coshocton and went to college right out of high school. He majored in business. "I wanted to get my business degree and run something." However, when one of his friends started studying physical therapy, Covic took a liking to it and thought it would be great to be able to help people. "I applied for the program at another institution one year, but it just wasn't my year."
Covic was discouraged and couldn't figure out what he wanted to do with his life. He moved to Columbus, then Lancaster, and finally home to Coshocton. There was still something missing for him though.
"I wanted to get back into school. I wanted to finish. I wanted to do something for myself," said Covic.
Covic decided to start taking classes at COTC. "I realized DMD was the program for me. I was reading the plan of study, and everything on there was me. I wanted to pursue it. Now I can't imagine doing anything else. I love it."
Covic started at the Coshocton campus because he could take the classes before and after work, and it was within walking distance from his house. He walked to class because he didn't have a car. After all, when he moved back to Coshocton, he only had a dresser full of clothes and a backpack. Tuition was a struggle.
"I was already thinking of ways to find another job. I didn't want to ask for help. I wanted to do it for me," said Covic.
After using his financial aid at Coshocton, it was either pay out of pocket or get some help. He applied for the Park National Bank and Associates' Next Generation Challenge scholarship and got it. The scholarship is awarded to students with demonstrated academic success and financial need.
"I've come from a lot of places where success isn't really there," said Covic. "So being able to get something and knowing I worked for it was the best feeling. I knew I was doing something right. It felt good knowing I did something right."
Covic would not have been able to finish college without the help of the scholarship. He is beyond grateful.
"I appreciate it with everything in me. It gave me that last push to finish and succeed," said Covic.
One day when Covic launches a successful web design business, he plans to give back to a scholarship fund.
"Giving back is just part of being human," said Covic. "Giving makes the world better. Especially after getting help, I want to give it back. You always have to remember what helped you get to where you are."
The Park National Bank and Associates' Scholarship was established in 2011 during the Next Generation Challenge, a two-year fundraising endeavor that raised nearly $21 million in scholarships for students at Ohio State Newark and Central Ohio Technical College. Eighty bank associates pledged a combined $340,000 to the campaign and the Park National Bank Foundation supplemented their donations to create a $1 million endowed scholarship named in honor of former Park National Bank CEO William T. McConnell and his late wife, Jane. Since its inception, 24 students have received the scholarship.
COTC was ranked number one in Ohio and number 19 in the nation by PayScale in its 2016-17 College Salary Report ranking the best community and career colleges by salary potential. COTC is a fully accredited, public college dedicated to providing high-quality, accessible programs of technical education in response to current and emerging employment needs. COTC is the only technical college in Ohio operating four full-service campus locations: Newark, Coshocton, Knox and Pataskala.