As the incoming Executive Director of the Crook County Foundation, I was excited to participate in our scholarship determination process my first week on the job. I have been involved with scholarship granting before, but it is always interesting to see how each organization conducts the review.
It was inspiring to see the dedication to education, sports, extra-curricular activities, and the community by tomorrow’s leaders. There were applications from students staying at home and attending community college, many attending Oregon’s prestigious universities, and some who were traveling alone to other states to venture out on a career path that they have dreamed of for years. Regardless to the type of institution, location of the schooling, or job that will likely come at the end, all our youth today deserve to be supported when they embark on an opportunity to give back to society and earn a solid wage.
Not every student is destined for a Bachelor or Master degree, and we need to let our kids know that any educational option is perfectly acceptable. The world needs welders, bakers, construction workers, nurses, mechanics, woodworkers, hairstylists, and many more trades people. There are scholarships and opportunities available for all these careers. It was disappointing to see not one application for a trade specific scholarship this year, but I have hopes that if we begin to better recognize that all types of workers are important to our society, we will see more students looking to achieve a variety of higher education.
To those students looking at their senior year coming up, I encourage to start preparing for the career that you will be passionate about and energized to go to for years. Start working on the pieces that make up your scholarship applications if you have not already. Look at your community service, if you need to boost it a bit, look for ways to give back and volunteer in our community. There are many amazing civic clubs and businesses who would gladly take on a student to help with their projects and programs. Think about your essay, this is your chance to shine and give the reviewers a glimpse into your life. What shaped you into the person you are today? What are your goals, dreams, and desires? Where do you see yourself in 10 years? And look for mentors who can not only provide you recommendation letters but open the door for you to learn in ways that cannot be taught in a classroom.
There are many paths you can take in life, luckily, we live in an amazing community that supports our youth with over 100 scholarship opportunities going into a trade, to a community college, or a 4 year university. As my career begins with the Crook County Foundation, I can already see that this will one of my favorite times of the year as we get to be inspired by the youth of today and assist with creating the leaders of tomorrow as our seniors close one door and open another.
If you are interested in learning more about the Crook County Foundation, or any of our scholarships and programs, contact Brandi Ebner, Crook County Foundation Executive Director at 541-362-1210 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, please visit our website www.CrookCountyFoundation.org