Scholarships Given to "Extreme" Families
Oct 09, 2010
Concordia helped make more dreams come true for two Moorhead families receiving "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" homes.
The college gave $385,000 in tuition scholarship packages to the six children in the families.
The two children of Bill and Adair Grommesh received four-year, full-tuition scholarships valued at $225,000. ABC's "Extreme Makeover" built the Grommesh family a new house a mile from Concordia's campus.
The Izja and Valdette Hajdari family received a four-year scholarship package valued at $160,000. The Hajdari family, which includes four daughters, now lives in what used to be the Grommesh house. The house was moved to north Moorhead and renovated by the "Extreme Makeover" team.
The scholarships were given to the families on Saturday when the Hajdari family's home was revealed (see photo above). A crowd of people stretched across one block and welcomed the families as they stepped off the "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" bus.
"Literally, I was pounding my fist on the desk watching the scene where the family received the scholarships," said Brady Connell, executive producer of the ABC reality show. "I was crying my eyes out, thanks to what Concordia College has done for these families."
Bill and Adair Grommesh are well known for founding HOPE Inc. and leading volunteer efforts to serve families with disabilities. Their children both have health challenges. Garrett, 9, was born with spina bifida. Peighton, 11, has a pancreatic enzyme deficiency known as Axenfeld-Reiger's syndrome.
"It's an amazing gift Concordia just gave us," said Bill Grommesh.
"The burden is gone," added his wife, Adair, as she wiped away tears. "These kids are so bright and will offer so much to the world."
Garrett says he wants to be a lawyer when he grows up. Peighton wants to be a teacher or a nurse.
The Hajdaris came to the U.S. as refugees from war-torn Kosovo. The family was pursuing the American dream when Izja was seriously injured in a work accident. His daughter, Arlinda, 9, goes to school with Garrett. Because her father had been in a wheelchair, she immediately accepted Garrett. He asked that his family's old home go the Hajdaris, who were living in a two-bedroom apartment.
Dr. Mark Krejci, provost and dean of the college, announced the scholarship gifts to the families who immediately screamed with excitement and hugged him.
After the scene was shot, "Extreme Makeover" host, Ty Pennington, shook Krejci's hand and thanked him for the college's contribution.
"He was impressed by the way our community turned out and supported these families," Krejci said.