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As a volunteer with the Kiwanis Club and as president of Antelope Valley College Foundation Board, Stacy Bryant is helping others succeed and do good in her community of Palmdale.
Bryant's passion for community will benefit students for decades
October 31, 2022
Name: Stacy Bryant Award: Robert E. Kelly Award
Stacy Bryant humbly refuses to take credit for the many accomplishments that have earned her the Robert E. Kelly award, which is given each year to a retired ACSA member.
“It’s not me. It’s everybody. It’s rallying people around their passion,” she said. “I just talk to people.”
Her ability to make connections around a common cause has resulted in literally hundreds of young people in the Palmdale community having opportunities to succeed. Since retiring as deputy superintendent of Palmdale School District in 2019, Bryant continues to be guided by a belief that when we help one person succeed, we lift up the entire community.
“What I’ve noticed in the last 30 years is there are the haves and the have nots,” she said, noting Palmdale is a Title I district. “So, one of the things that I focus on is removing the barriers for students to get to college.”
Bryant was once one of those students.
Raised by parents who didn’t have degrees, college wasn’t on her radar when she was a student at Palmdale High School.
“The counselor there patted me on the head and said, ‘You’ll make a great secretary,’” she recalled. “And my answer today is: Boy, my counselor was right — I would have made a great secretary. But guess what I do better? I’m a better boss.”
Today, she makes sure more students have access to a college education by creating scholarship endowments. It’s been her main goal as president of the Antelope Valley College Foundation Board for the last six years.
“We can give a scholarship every year, but if we endow a scholarship, we give a scholarship into perpetuity,” she said. “So, I’m not looking to the future of tomorrow or 10 years — I’m looking 40 and 50 years down the road and continuing to lift up and raise up our students.”
During her tenure, the foundation has grown its total endowment from $5.1 million to $10 million and increased the number of scholarship endowments from 34 to 102. She achieved this growth by setting clear goals around how much needed to be raised each year.
At first, she didn’t think she could do it.
After surviving a battle with breast cancer in 2016, Bryant learned of a promising young student who experienced a relapse of cancer during her senior year. She remembers a nagging feeling that the Foundation should create an endowment for students with cancer or whose parents and siblings were fighting the disease. But she had doubts.
“I’m thinking, I don’t know how to raise money that well. I’m not really good at it. I can’t ask people,” she recalled. “Then the girl died. And then I said to myself, ‘All right Stacy, you’ve fiddled around long enough. Let’s get this done.’”
Bryant found six principals, each with their own emotional connection to cancer, who spread the word about the Love Wins Scholarship. Their goal was to get 100 people to donate $10 for 10 months to reach the $10,000 needed to start an endowment.
“People still give to this day,” she said. “That endowment now has $60,000. This year, we gave three scholarships.”
Her other activities in the community include Kiwanis Club. In 2015, the club partnered with Operation All the Way Home to create the 5Klicks to Home Run/Walk, which raised funds to build a wheelchair accessible smart home for a local veteran who was severely wounded in Iraq. The annual fundraiser has now led to the creation of an endowed scholarship for student-veterans at Antelope Valley College.
During retirement, Bryant is also paying it forward to new administrators by coaching them in ACSA’s Clear Administrative Credential Program. She helped found the local program for Palmdale School District with Kathy Wehunt in 2015.
Bryant enjoys being the multiplier — the person who amplifies efforts and helps take them to the next level. She takes great joy in helping others succeed and do good in her community.
Bryant recounts a story from a recent Kiwanis Blood Drive. She had set a lofty goal, but had not reached it. It was late in the day, and Bryant’s spirits were low.
Then a family of 11 walked in. A boy was celebrating his 16th birthday and instead of gifts, he wanted his whole family to donate blood. Bryant said she felt energized.
“Just when I think I’m doing something for students, this young man turns around and does something for me,” she said. “How could you not love doing that?”
2022 Robert E. Kelly Award winner Stacy Bryant.