Derby Party funds girl's college dream

DENVER - Sometimes it's the simple things in life that most of us take for granted.

Not Eunice Bembissa. The senior from South High School is grateful for everything, even the hard times that most people can't even imagine.

At one month old, Eunice lost her father to the brutal civil war in Congo. Her mother moved the family to a refugee camp and later died when Eunice was just three years old.

Education wasn't possible in Africa.

"We didn't attend schools back there because we could not afford education," she said.

At age 13, UNICEF brought Eunice and her two sisters to Colorado.

"Two weeks after we landed I started 7th grade," said Eunice.

Starting with no education and without knowing one word of English, Eunice not only survived, she thrived.

Eunice not only takes care of her sisters, she also sends money to her two brothers still in Africa.

"Sometimes I feel like I haven't done enough because I really think about helping my family a lot," she said. "And education is money going to help my family," she said through tears. "I feel like I am not doing enough because my brothers are still suffering."

But for now, her money can go to help her family because she won't be paying for college.

It's all thanks to a four-year scholarship sponsored by 7NEWS, on behalf of Sean Ranch Lough Foundation.

"There's a guy named Sean Lough that everyone called Ranch," said Terrence Hunt, one of the founders of the foundation. "He passed away in 2001 and Scott (Anderson) and I started a scholarship foundation in his name."

The money for the scholarship comes from the annual Denver Derby Party.

"We do it in memory of Sean," said Hunt.

"But our passion continues strong because of students like you," said Hunt of Eunice.

For Eunice, this opportunity means everything.

"I will go back to open schools or hospitals, just to help kids," said Eunice. "I know where I came from and I know what it is like to live in a third-world country." 

The Derby Party is sold out, but donations are being accepted for future scholarship recipients: http://www.denverderby.com/

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