Sandi Scannelli column: Scholarships — not just for the scholarly

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 7, 2019

Who comes to mind when you hear the word “scholar”? Perhaps someone who studies and researches every day? Or someone who is academically brilliant? No surprise then that many believe scholarships are only for scholarly students. Historically, it makes sense. The first scholarship was established at Harvard in 1643 by Anne Radcliff, Lady Mowlson, who was also the first female donor to Harvard. Of course, Harvard has been prolific in attracting and producing scholars and no wonder a perception that these awards are only for the scholarly.

Today, 375 years later, scholarships are available for almost every career development program available. Having worked with donors for years in setting up scholarship programs, I found that every, yes every, donor wanted to help encourage and support a deserving student in his/her pursuit of additional training and education. Note the words “deserving students,” not scholarly students. In fact, the assumption is that the most scholarly students are covered up in multiple awards. Donors often want to reach and encourage those who might be overlooked, need a little extra encouragement, or otherwise have potential, but not necessarily the highest GPA.

At the Clemmons Community Foundation, we are especially excited about the new scholarship established in partnership with the Lewisville-Clemmons Chamber of Commerce — the Mason H. Hunter Vocational Scholarship. Increasingly, high demand jobs with strong earnings potential require occupational credentials — licenses and certifications specific to the occupation.  Not every student is scholarly, but every student aspires to become employed in a meaningful career with good earnings potential. Forsyth Technical Community College and other technical training centers have designed programs leading to the certifications and other credentials that employers require. The Mason H. Hunter Vocational Scholarship is ideal for these programs and the chamber has sweetened the award with the promise of an employer mentor who will be paired with the scholarship recipient, which adds networking opportunities and extra real-world guidance to a student’s career development.  This is just one example of the many types of scholarships available to students.

Students (and parents): There is value in exploring the full range of career opportunities in demand today. The scholarships available don’t all require those who are academically gifted or 4-year college bound. Finding scholarship opportunities may be a bit of a hunt. In addition to school guidance offices, community foundations and colleges, consider that many civic clubs and professional organizations offer scholarships at the local level.

If you are reading this and wanting to help a local student by starting a scholarship or want to contribute to an existing scholarship, email or call me at . We’ll be delighted to discuss your goals and help you invest in a deserving student who will flourish with your encouragement and support.

Sandi Scannelli is president and CEO of the Clemmons Community Foundation.