New scholarship honors long-time dean's memory

Funds raised will help students transition to college-level programs

Seattle Central is creating a student scholarship fund to honor the memory of a long-time administrator, and a recent event raised nearly $25,000, bringing the effort closer to meeting its fundraising goal.

The Rachel Hidaka Scholarship will provide financial support for students in two programs – Adult Basic Education (ABE) and English as a Second Language (ESL) – so they have the resources to transition to college-level classes and eventually earn a degree. It is named for the founding dean of Seattle Central’s Basic Studies program who was a passionate advocate for pre-college programs during her decades of service.

“Rachel fundamentally changed how our college, and the city of Seattle, serves the immigrant, refugee and adult education community,” Basic and Transitional Studies Dean Laura DiZazzo said. “Her persistent advocacy and fundraising elevated the ESL and ABE programs to be a vital part of the Seattle Central’s mission.”

The committee surpassed its fundraising target for the year after nearly 120 people donated. Now they are just $5,000 shy of reaching $30,000, the amount required to establish an endowment. The scholarship will then become a permanent source of funding in perpetuity.

“Community is at the core of what we do here at Seattle Central,” Tina Young, Interim Director for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion said. “Honoring Rachel is important because she had such an incredible impact across our city. As an institution, we must take the time to honor those who are so strongly tied to our community.”

Donations can be made online to support the scholarship.