Debbie Antshel dedicated her life to helping others in the community.
Now that legacy is being continued through a scholarship fund for others who want to help.
Several dozen family members, friends and community leaders gathered Wednesday to present the first Debbie Antshel Memorial CPCC Scholarship. The recipient was a June graduate of Harding University High School who says she hopes to carry on in Antshel's memory.
“She had a passion and skill for helping those less fortunate,” said Kaylan Dionne Frazier, winner of the first scholarship named for Antshel, who died Jan. 1 of cancer. “I believe it's my destiny to better the lives of others.”
The $1,400 scholarship will help Frazier begin an education in nursing. She begins classes at CPCC on Monday.
Antshel had ties to CPCC, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, the city of Charlotte and more.
She worked at CPCC from 1988 to 1997 and started the Community Leadership Certificate program, helping adults return to school and earn degrees. Then she was director of Neighborhood Services in Charlotte, where she launched the Computer Access Neighborhoods (CAN) program that put computers in community centers.
She followed that with a stint at CMS, where she developed programs for teacher training and then launched the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Schools Foundation, which provided a way for community leaders and organizations to donate money to the school system. “Just today, we received $95,000 in donations to the foundation,” CMS Superintendent Peter Gorman said during Wednesday's scholarship presentation at CPCC.
Antshel's husband, Henry, and a son, Quinn, were on hand for the presentation.
“Debbie empowered people to effect positive change in their lives,” Henry Antshel said, recalling one of his late wife's favorite sayings: “If it's to be, it begins with me.”
CPCC President Tony Zeiss recalled a time when he and Antshel went to then-Bank of America President Hugh McColl for a donation to the college. “He (McColl) had just put out an edict, saying there would be no donations of more than $250,000,” Zeiss recalled. “Debbie charmed him into giving the college $500,000.”
The scholarship recipient, Frazier, said she has wanted to be a nurse since childhood.
“It was always between nursing and being a preacher,” she said. “I care a lot about people, and I want to help.”