Students find college funding through scholarships
Dale Thompson Of the Record staff
Money for college doesn’t grow on trees but a scholarship is the next best thing. In 2002 Park City High School used an $8,000 grant to hire a scholarship advisor for its students. Dana Ardovino was given the position and is now in her fourth year helping students find money for higher education.
Since her employment the amount of scholarship money available to PCHS students has jumped from a little over $736,000 to $6.3 million. This amounts to approximately $23,000 per senior.
Her job description includes publicizing scholarship opportunities and assisting students with resume-building activities to make them eligible for as many scholarships as possible. For the 05-06 school year her position expanded to include, among other things, advising school clubs and building relationships with colleges and universities.
As part of her position Ardovino is responsible for coordinating donations from people in Park City for the Community Scholarship Program. In 2005 she helped to gather money from 65 community members totaling $65,071. She is currently looking for donations for 2006.
Ardovino recently helped five students from PCHS become nominated for the 2006 Martin Luther King, Jr. Awards. To be eligible for this award students must be committed to social action, positive change and building bridges among cultures and communities.
She expressed a great deal of pride in the nominated students. "Over the years, they have served the downtrodden, the less fortunate, the ill, the disabled and the elderly. They are dedicated leaders and mentors of other young people."
Ardovino also wanted to recognize Derek Painter who was named the recipient of Park City High School’s Principal’s Leadership Award which recognizes academic excellence, leadership, and participation in service organizations and clubs.
Painter is first in his class at PCHS, a National Merit Semi-finalist, Captain of the Academic Decathlon Team and President of the Gay Straight Alliance. He has also volunteered over 100 hours at the National Ability Center.
"Derek is an outstanding student, leader and person. He works diligently to ensure the equality of all students at Park City High School, regardless of sexual orientation. He is an effective communicator and a brilliant, caring young man. Derek is exceptional in every aspect of his life," Ardovino said.
She recently helped Austin Blais become this year’s Toyota Community Scholar, an award based on academic performance, effective leadership skills and the overall impact of the student’s contribution in the area of service in the schools and community.
Blais is President of the National Honor Society and is a competitive soccer player. Ardovino said, "Austin has a very strong work ethic that shines through in all his efforts."
Elisa Patterson is the local honoree for the Prudential Spirit of Community Award. She will compete for awards from $1,000 to $25,000 at the state and national level. She is Senior Class President and Vice President of the National Honor Society.
Patterson commits a large portion of her time to volunteering in the community for her church and at the Shriner’s Intermountain Hospital.
"Elisa is a triple wow student. Elisa has the highest integrity and puts her heart into so many important causes. She is a creative, dedicated, compassionate role model. I admire Elisa’s ability to manage her time so effectively."
Fifty PCHS students received Prudential Sprit of Community Awards Certificates of Merit in part thanks to her support. The award is based on community service. Ardovino’s own son has started to follow in her footsteps. His freshman year he founded the Scholarship Club. He is also a member of Key Club and the Student Senate. She stresses that she does not get scholarships, students do. She helps them with the application process. "Getting the application is the most difficult part," Ardovino said. "The more applications you fill out the more scholarships you’re going to get." Ardovino also feels that everyone should begin their scholarship hunt as soon as possible. "It’s never too early to start applying for scholarships. Every student has great qualities and there’s a scholarship out there for every student," she said. "I love what I do and I love these kids."
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The large fireworks shows scheduled for July 3 and July 4 at Park City Mountain Resort have been canceled because of worries about fire risk and drought conditions.