Community scholarships aid local students
Park City High School strives to be one of the top 10 high schools in the country. But this worthy goal means little if students receive a great education but are unable to afford college.
Dana Ardovino, the high school’s community scholarship advisor, is on a one-woman-crusade to, bridge the financial void between high school and college, not just for those with the highest grades, but for all students with the dream of a college education.
And that is where the community can help. Businesses and individuals may create a one-time scholarship, using criteria important to them, helping those who may believe college is beyond their financial reach.
Major national scholarships reward top academic performers in the country. But what about those students who are not at the top of their class? Some, Ardovino said, may be struggling with a low grade point average, but may be working nights to help support their families. Some may be learning English as they attend high school. Others may have problems in their lives, overwhelming them as they strive to attend college. Are they left out in the cold when it comes to financial help for college?
Ardovino emphatically says no. "There is a scholarship out there for everyone, regardless of grades or income," she says. "Donors CAN help our local kids go to college."
"It is that time of year," Ardovino says, when the community can establish individual scholarships as a one-time boost in making kids’ dreams possible.. She said that last year locals, businesses and individuals donated over $107,000.
Ardovino speaks with the enthusiasm of a cheerleader. "For some kids, $500 means the difference between going to college or not," she said. "One little girl came to me after getting a scholarship and said, ‘This means it really is going to happen.’ That scholarship gave her hope, and she is now attending the University of Alaska."
For as little as $500, a one-time scholarship can be established, with criteria tailor-made by the donor. Bigger donations are also welcome. Ardovino said, some community members create scholarships that recognize abilities, some recognize those headed into certain professions, some are for kids who have turned their lives around, some reward determination, others look at spirituality.
Ardovino relates one example of a few local painters who established a scholarship for students hoping to study for skilled trades or who have overcome obstacles. "Isn’t that beautiful?" Ardovino asks. Some donors establish a scholarship in the name of someone who has passed away.
Although top academic students have a better chance of qualifying for major scholarships, a local scholarship can also be important to them. Ardovino said that although Park City is perceived as a wealthy community, a lot of families struggle, especially living in a town where housing prices and mortgages are high. But even families who are well-off financially can struggle with the costs of college. "Some colleges cost $50,000 per year, Ardovino said.
PCHS senior Daniale Rohnow, a biochemistry. major, is currently applying for scholarships. She has been taking advanced-placement tests, which, she said, cost her total of $500. Ardovino spoke of how top students like Rohnow, who may be headed for ivy league schools, do not get merit-based scholarships from those schools, because everyone entering such schools is smart.
Ardovino hopessome in the community will consider establishing an endowment. "For $10,000, you can establish an endowment that will provide for perpetuity," Ardovino said.
Any help from the community is greatly appreciated. Ardovino said the Park City Education Foundation would be happy to apply donations specifically toward scholarships to help local students.
"My hope is the local scholarships will provide a boost," said Ardovino. "We are celebrating our students. We are showing them they are amazing. There is not one kid here who does not deserve a scholarship."
Ardovino said those wanting to establish a community scholarship should contact her with their criteria and financial commitment before March 15. She can be reached at 645-5650, ext. 2085, or at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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