During last week’s graduation ceremonies, most speakers alluded to the graduates’ futures. Some graduates will be entering the workforce and some the military, but the majority of them plan to continue their education at either vocational, community or four-year colleges. And the vast majority of those students will be able to do so financially because they have received scholarships.
The amount of scholarship money students at Brevard and Rosman high schools have received is staggering. Members of the Class of 2017 at Brevard High have received scholarships of approximately $2 million. Those at Rosman High have received more than $700,000. So, why are students from two relatively small, rural communities receiving so many scholarships?
The answer is twofold. First, the students have received a sound, well-rounded education that is comparable to those provided in some of the best schools in the state. Their educational abilities have been manifested in their performances in math and science competitions. Students in the TIME program have excelled at the state, national and international level. But it’s not just the core academic subjects in which students have succeeded. They also have done well in other competitions, ranging from FFA and FBLA to chorus. And several individuals have excelled athletically. As a result, several students are receiving full rides to several well respected colleges and universities in the region.
But there are dozens of other graduates who are receiving scholarships that will help pay for college. Some of the scholarships may only be a few hundred dollars while others are several thousand dollars. But the cumulative effect of these scholarships can be similar to receiving a full ride.
Many of these scholarships are funded by local organizations, which is the second reason so many local students are able to attend college. Organizations such as the Toxaway Falls Garden Club, which has given $100,000 to 77 local students in 23 years; Connestee Falls Scholarship Program, which has given nearly $80,000 in scholarships this year; and the local chapter of the AAUW, which has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to young women over the past several years are just a few examples of the numerous organizations that provide scholarships.
Many of these latter scholarships not only help local students, but also help the community economically. The AAUW, for example, has an endowment of more than $100,000 at Blue Ridge Community College and has provided students who attend Brevard College more than $125,000. That money is helping pay the salaries of local college instructors and administrators, who in turn spend their money in this community.
Students work hard so that they can receive scholarships. And we would be remiss not to mention the assistance teachers, administrators and guidance counselors provide to help students garner scholarships. But in many communities, worthy students may not receive scholarships because they do not have the community support. That is not the case here. Students who are deserving of scholarships often receive that financial assistance. We applaud all of those in the community who provide educational and financial support so that most students can continue on with their education beyond high school.