Koenig reached out to Kay Weed, an Aurora resident who had welcomed the student during an internship at Discover Cayuga Lake last summer. Weed refused to let Koenig lose what she had worked for so long and immediately spread the word over her network. The answer was just as immediate, she said. One woman left an envelope on Weed's windshield with $ 600 – her entire stimulus relief check.
“Wells is a special place,” said Weed. “It's a very special place that means so much to the students.”
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Among those who saw Weed's plea for support was Rebecca Haag, a 1974 Wells graduate who spread the word to some of her classmates with whom she has kept in touch since leaving college.
“What Kay did was incredible and so demonstrative that a woman can make a difference,” said Haag. “It not only reflects the Wells Ward, but the Wells tradition as well.”
Haag felt it was wrong for her alma mater to let only two students slip away in this way, and also wrote to President Jonathan Gibralter. But she learned he had already been contacted by Chea and had done everything in his power to keep both Liberian students on campus, starting by leaving them behind this semester to continue their studies without interruption.
Koenig would have owed $ 20,600.50 and Chea $ 31,400.67 by the time it was closed. After Gibralter contacted Smart Liberia about the students, the agency promised them an additional $ 20,000, the president said. This had to be raised about 30,000 US dollars. However, as of this week the college is within $ 2,500 to hit that total. Gibralter said there had been at least 25 donors, some of whom contributed up to $ 5,000. What makes the donations all the more impressive is the fact that they are not tax deductible as they are not a general scholarship fund but rather support two specific students.