Thanks to increased donations and two new scholarships, the Sedalia School District Foundation has $25,000 worth of scholarships to award Smith-Cotton seniors who are furthering their education.
The large amount of money available is significantly higher than previous years. SSDF member Deidre Esquivel said they typically have between $9,000 and $15,000 available.
“It’s largely in part to our donors. Some this year increased their scholarships, a few doubled,” she said. “There’s also two new scholarships this year. These are scholarships from local families or alumni or groups of people that went to high school together that wanted to do something. These are the best ones because every one of them has a story. We’re blessed to live in a place like Sedalia where people want to get together and do this for the seniors.”
The application process is fairly simple. Students fill out one application, including an essay, letters of recommendation, a teacher recommendation form, and a background information form, and then select which scholarships they are interested in or eligible for. Twenty-two scholarships are available, and some are offered to more than one student.
“It’s a good opportunity for some free money for college and I think there’s a lot of love put into those scholarships,” Esquivel said. “They’re specifically for Sedalia 200 students and I think that’s the neatest part of it.”
Each scholarship has different requirements. Some are academic based, while others are geared toward specific groups or interests, such as athletics, music, art, science or agriculture. Once submitted, the SSDF sends them to each donor, if they wish, so they and their family can select the winner. Recipients are announced during senior awards night in May, and all award and scholarship winners receive a letter requesting them to attend, but they won’t know what they received until the event.
Last year, however, scholarship recipients found out an hour before the event began during a banquet with the scholarship donors, something Esquivel said the foundation plans to do again.
“Last year we did something different, it kind of blows the surprise a little bit, but we had a reception right before the awards started,” she said. “It’s an opportunity for the donors to meet the recipients. And it gives the student a chance to say thank you. It worked well last year.”
Applications are due to the Smith-Cotton High School counselor’s office by 4 p.m. April 1. For more information about SSDF scholarships or to obtain a list of available scholarships, students should contact the SCHS counselor’s office.