The school year is flying by, and Smith-Cotton seniors have started planning for what they will do after they graduate. Many will go to college, but the question is: How will they pay for that education? This is where scholarships come in to save the day.
The Sedalia School District Foundation provides a variety of scholarships ranging from $250 to $1,500. People from the Sedalia community donate the money and set criteria that applicants must meet in order to receive the scholarship.
Usually only about 10 percent of S-C seniors apply for the foundation scholarships. In all, about 30 percent of Smith-Cotton High School seniors receive scholarships, with the Class of 2015 receiving about $2.5 million in scholarships.
Charles Guier is one of the few S-C seniors who have received a sports scholarship. Guier has given his verbal commitment to run track for the University of Iowa.
“The recruiting coach messaged me on Facebook and wanted to get in contact to discuss about running for their university and their opportunities,” Guier said. “I took the offer because I really liked the culture there. It kind of reminded me of Missouri. It is very diverse and I believe that I can reach my fullest potential there. They also had the best offer.”
Guier wants to get his degree in physical therapy. He plans to run track all through college.
“I’m not ready to leave the house yet, but I’m ready to start a new chapter in my life,” he said. “None of this would be possible without my family, God and (Coach) Matt Clark.”
Senior Bailey Curry has received many academic scholarships, including the KCPL scholarship, Philanthropic Educational Organization Women’s Scholarship, Beltor Scholarship and a few from Missouri State University. She wants to earn her bachelor’s degree in cell and molecular biology with a premedical focus.
“Scholarships are a big thing that can help you out,” Curry said. “Since I want to be a trauma surgeon, that means I have to be in school for 13 years. It’s good knowing that I’m in less debt than if I had never applied.”
Deidre Esquivel, president of Sedalia School District Foundation and a member of its Education Opportunities Committee, said scholarship donors aren’t always looking for the smartest student. They look for certain characteristics they believe apply to their scholarship and they also look at the essay. The criteria really depend on the scholarship; some require a high GPA or a certain ACT score, others require community work hours and for some an applicant must be nominated.
“There are so many scholarships out there that you can have but all you have to do is take that step and apply,” Esquivel said.
Smith-Cotton counselors Pam Crafton and Katie Ellis said the best things to use to find scholarships are fastweb.com or scholarships.com. A student fills out a profile and the website automatically messages them if they fit a scholarship.
Esquivel advises to start preparing for scholarships now.
“It’s never too early to start looking at your options,” she said. “I encourage you to do two things: ask for letters of recommendations and to start working on your list of activities and achievements. Once you have that down, applying for a scholarship shouldn’t be too hard because you already have most of the information down. All you have left to do is to write an essay.”
The deadline to apply for the scholarships is March 11. For more information on foundation scholarships, go to sedaliaschooldistrictfoundation.org or email [email protected]
Valentyna Usyk is a student at Smith-Cotton High School.