April 3, 2009
The months before graduation for high school seniors can be summed up in one word: Hectic. Classes are winding down, college preparations are gearing up, and end-of-the-year social obligations are in full swing. Parents’ pestering about applying for scholarship money is one more thing on the overwhelmed senior’s lengthy to-do list.
Fortunately, Dana Ardovino, the community scholarship advisor at Park City High School (PCHS), has been working hard to make the process as simple and stress-free as possible on both the giving and receiving ends.
About the program
The Community Scholarship Program at PCHS was launched 22 years ago to give donors an opportunity to contribute to furthering education for local students. Since its inception, the program has provided over $1.3 million in college funding to PCHS seniors.
Last year, 108 students received scholarships for a combined $128,600 in awards. Scholarships range in amount from $500 to $6,000. Upon proof of enrollment, recipients may use scholarship money for any costs associated with attending college, including tuition, room and board, textbooks and supplies.
The Park City Women’s Business Network is a consistent supporter of the Community Scholarship Program, and this year, the organization is donating five scholarships for $2,000 each to business-oriented graduating women. "The scholarship supports our mission to promote women to take an active role in the business world," says President Jennifer Pentes. "There really is a need, and we’re just happy we can help young women go to college and jumpstart their careers."
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For as little as $500, individuals, organizations and businesses may create their own scholarship, or for $250, two or more donors may collaborate to create a joint scholarship. Donors define the eligibility, criteria, quantity and dollar amount for their award, and may request to be involved in the selection process.
Past scholarships have been created to support certain career paths, to help those who have overcome obstacles, or to honor loved ones. "It’s a great way to reach out and serve the community by helping kids go to college," says Ardovino.
Liz Lee created a scholarship three years ago in honor of her father, Christopher Weld. "We feel a true community connection to Park City schools," says Lee, whose three children have grown up in the district. The scholarship criteria are based on Weld’s attributes and gifts, she says. "Every year at this time, we talk about him all over again. It reminds us about everything that’s great about him."
This year, Ardovino says, it’s more important than ever to help students continue their education. College is a huge expense, and in tough economic times, every little bit helps, she says. A scholarship can mean the difference between living at home and living in the dorms, or buying a laptop and using computers in the library or lab.
There’s still time to sponsor a community scholarship for this year’s seniors. Donors must commit by April 9 and have until the end of May to get the money together. For more information, contact Dana Adrovino at 645-5650 ext. 2085 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the receiving end, it’s up to students to take the initiative and apply for scholarships. The first step is to pick up a portfolio from Ardovino’s office and fill out the personal profile.
Once donor commitments are finalized on April 9, a compilation of scholarship criteria will be available for students to select those that best fit their qualifications. Students submit a single application and may apply for up to three scholarships.
New scholarships this year include the Tikkun Olam Scholarship for "an extraordinary student who plans to ‘heal the world;’" the Heart-Beat Productions Scholarship for a prospective film student in commemoration of Christopher Yeates, and the It’s a Wonderful Life scholarship, specifically designed by the Hoffmeyer family for a student with few or no obstacles.
The deadline for scholarship applications is April 24 at noon. Award recipients will be chosen through a blind review process during the month of May, and scholarship winners will be announced at an award ceremony on May 28 at 8 a.m. at the Eccles Center.