Allison and Roger Swets
Maria I. Perez started her life in Puerto Rico. As a teenager, she moved to New York City where she worked in the cafeteria for The French Hospital in Chelsea. She would gaze upon the nurses’ crisp, white caps and uniforms and longed to wear the same uniform. Being poor and unsupported, that dream was never realized. Undaunted, she vowed her children would never know that pain or deficit, and providing them with an excellent education became a priority. She struggled financially to send them to parochial schools when lower quality and free public schools were tempting. She took out loans to provide high quality education for them. With every step, she was committed to giving her children what she did not have, and paid it off. Today, three of her four children have obtained a college degree, including Allison Swets who graduated from Grand Valley State University’s Kirkhof College of Nursing in 2014. Allison, with her husband Roger Swets, started this scholarship to give underrepresented groups that same chance.