Oakdale High School seniors were awarded more than 220 scholarships worth over $96,000 at the high school’s Senior Awards Night on May 4, with 98 seniors receiving the awards.
Some students who garnered several scholarships each were Korinne Baxter, Michael Homer, Tim House, Todd Medema, Brendt Ohe, and Sasha Sinkevich.
OHS college counselor Denise Hitch reported that there were two new scholarships offered this year: the Kaye Ryan Memorial and The Wilkins Pump/Knickerbocker scholarships.
“I think a lot of people are under the misconception that they have to have an endowment fund…but they don’t,” Hitch said. “A lot of people just can write a check each year…
“They don’t have to be memorials, they can be in honor of somebody, they can be a business,” Hitch added.
For example, she said, if a person or business wants to offer a $250 scholarship, they can write a $250 check. It can be ongoing, one time only, only offered during certain years, and can be discontinued at any time. The donor may also select the criteria for the award of the scholarship. Donors may control the money themselves, or they can run it through the district.
“There’s some misconception that we pick who gets the scholarships,” Hitch noted.
She said that there is actually a special community scholarship committee made up of volunteers that makes the selections. Scholarship donors may also select the recipient themselves. Hitch said that anyone who is interested in being a scholarship donor or being part of the scholarship committee may contact her via e-mail at email@example.com. She added that those who serve on the committee may not have a senior student at the time.
From the student’s side, Hitch said that the counselors ask the students to apply for one scholarship per week. Some scholarship applications are specific for a single scholarship and there is also a general scholarship application that applies to other scholarships.
“I tell the kids, ‘If you don’t tell someone you’re interested, they’re not going to know you want a scholarship’,” Hitch said.
She added that she tells the students that filling out scholarship applications should be treated like a job. She said that if they take an hour to write an essay for a scholarship and are awarded a $500 scholarship, then that’s the equivalent of $500 an hour.