Scholarship advisor hopes to continue work next year
In the past three years Dana Ardovino, scholarship counselor for Park City High School, has helped students find nearly $9 million for college tuition. Now, she is concerned her job might not be funded for the 2006-2007 school year.
The Park City Education Foundation is committed to financing her position for three years which will come to a close at this June.
Several of the positions they help fund are given a similar time frame although Executive Director of the foundation, Lynn Heinlein suggested it was a possibility they would back the position again if the district did not.
Principal of PCHS, Hal Smith, said he plans to submit a budget proposal to the district that includes the funding of her position and it will be left to the board to approve his budget. He said finding the money for her position will be a cooperative effort between the school and the school board.
"She does a valuable service for our school and the community, she has done a great job," Smith said.
For the next few months Ardovino will be waiting to hear if her job has been funded or not. In the meantime she will continue helping students find money for college.
"I love what I do," Ardovino said.
She meets with up to three students a day for one-hour consultations where she gives them general information about scholarship opportunities and encourages them to apply for as many scholarships as possible. In honor of her 42nd birthday Ardovino asks all of the seniors she meets with to apply for 42 scholarships.
"The more scholarships they apply for, the better their chances," she said.
With her guidance, students in the class of 2005 received $6 million in scholarships.
For that graduating class Ardovino also helped each student in the top 10 percent receive a book award from one of their first choice colleges.
Ardovino wants to be clear that the students work hard for those awards, and she isn’t the one handing them out.
"I don’t get scholarships, and I don’t give scholarships. I help lead the students to the scholarships," she said.
One of her goals is to help every student and not just those who excel at academics.
"I do try to find scholarships for everybody," Ardovino said, adding that she feels every student has a story to tell, one that can help them find money for college.
Much of her job is helping students to package their application in the best way possible. One of the ways she does that is to encourage students to do ample amounts of volunteer work and Ardovino supplies students with contact lists of organizations where students can volunteer. She feels it is important for students to make a connection between community service, leadership and scholarship opportunities.
Another component of her job is nominating students for scholarships. Ardovino said every scholarship that she hears about is applied for by one of the students that solicits her help.
With the work she does, Ardovino said she hopes to bring the Park City School District one step closer to its goal of becoming one of the top-10 schools in the nation. One of the ways she does that is by helping students find the money for college when they might not otherwise be able to afford it, or she helps students find scholarships so they can attend more expensive schools without breaking the bank.
"I’m helping to give kids hope," she said.
In addition to her role as scholarship counselor, Ardovino is advisor for both the Scholarship Club and the Key Club. She has also been working to cultivate a relationship with PCHS alumni in the hope they might contribute to the community scholarship program which brought in approximately $65,000 last year.
Her busy schedule has created the need for volunteers. With the help of Barbara Bach, Barbara Pavlick and Allison Florance she can get more applications to more students.
"With their help we’re hand delivering applications to certain students," she said.
Ardovino expressed a love for her job numerous times and said she didn’t know what she will do if her position is not funded next year.
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Park City residents will have two more opportunities to take advantage of free rapid testing for COVID-19 early next week.