This was the third year that Brandon and I gave away a scholarship to a Conemaugh Valley senior. We work with the guidance counselor to get the word spread about our scholarship opporunity. Then we ask any hs senior interested to write a short essay about the positive influence that they had while attending Valley. We also receive copies of their extracurricular activities and their future plans. We were so happy to recieve TWELVE scholarship applications this year and we were truly insprired to read about all that the hs students have accomplished over their high school careers.
We read about students that found alternative ways to do what they love when not initially given the opportunity to them at the school. And students who were working after school to help make money to go to college. Students who were starting new school projects get off of the ground in its first year of implementation. And students that were working in various organizations with the elementary school kids.
We had to narrow the applications down in waves, and it was hard to knock them down each time. We wish we could give something to everyone, but in the end it came down to a student that reminded us about what we love Valley for so much in the first place.
You might remember when I posted about our CV Alumni Turkey Bowl back in Novemeber...when in the pouring rain, alumni showed up to participate and raise money for the school. Outside of asking alumni to come that day, we have also requested that high school current students come to the event to volunteer or help out, since they can't participate yet as alumni. Well in 2 years that we've held the Turkey Bowl - only 1 high school student has showed up both years to volunteer at the event. And just as we so much appreciate the alumni that showed up that day for us - we knew we had to honor the one student that showed up when he was needed. London Graham truly embodies what we love so much about our community; that when you need someone to be there - they'll be there.
Congratulations, London Graham and all the Valley 2011 graduates! We, as alumni, are proud of you!
In case you were wondering to yourself, "Starting a scholarship sounds cool, but how in the world do I do that?"
It's reallllly easy and awesome. so here's how:
1. contact the school's guidance counselor and let him/her know that you would be interested in starting a scholarship in your/someone else's name. For example, if your momma loves her some smart kids - starting a scholarship in honor of your mom is a great gift...and one you can re-do every year!
2. Decide what the criteria will be for winning your scholarship. We chose for student's to complete an essay about their postive influence because unless this is your first time visiting our blog - you know we love us some kindness. But you could make the criteria be anything you want....like the kid needs to have played the sport you played when you were in HS and be going to college for the same major you had...for example:)
3. Decide how much you're willing to scholarship and then figure out how you'll afford it. Do you remember when you were going to college and how another $100 bucks would have been awesome. Cut a few trips to the drive through over the course of the year and booyah - you have your scholarship money set aside
4. Be prepared to make some decisions, because you won't believe how hard it will be to pick just one student
5. Be proud - you are helping someone get an education, and that is a pretty awesome thing to do.
6. Let your tax attorney know that you awarded a scholarship and back it up with a letter from the school. hello tax refund.