Tomorrow on June 8, the graduating class will gather in caps and gowns to receive their scholarship awards. This year, out of the 270 seniors in the graduating class, 175 seniors applied for scholarships, with 140 to receive one or more. The average number of scholarships applied to was six, with one being the lowest and thirty-two being the highest.
“There are 152 individual scholarships that students can receive; however, some give multiple awards within the scholarship,” said Scholarship and Financial Aid Specialist Lynn Gregory.
Having expanded exponentially over the years, the LBHS Honors Convocation began in 1947 with the Ebell Scholarship.
“A lot of the growth I’ve seen comes from alumni returning to give and create their own scholarships for students,” said Gregory. “Barrett Thornton and Harrison Williams both received the Anna Marie Beck Business Scholarship, both went to study finance [at college], and Barrett and Harrison came back this year wanting to give a scholarship.”
This year LBHSSF plans to give out an approximate $525,000, including renewable scholarships, which is up $25,000 from the previous year. In addition to the increase in scholarship funds, 11 new scholarships have been added to the foundation this year.
“The money is awesome to receive, but I believe that students also appreciate the acknowledgement— that someone saw something in them, that they were chosen. So I think it’s more than the money. I really do,” said Gregory.
To be eligible to receive scholarships, each senior completes an on-campus interview with a teacher serving on the committee. This 15 to 20 minute interview not only provides students with the opportunity to gain interview experience, but it also allows the teachers on the committee to advocate for the students and share with the rest of the committee any additional circumstances that weren’t necessarily reflected in the applicants’ essays.
“In my opinion, the coolest scholarship to give out is the ‘I Define Me’ scholarship, which allows people to look at the things in their lives that might hinder them and say, ‘That’s not going to define who I am’,” said physics teacher Jennifer Merritt.
Scholarships not only award students for their outstanding accomplishments but also for their character, which isn’t always evident inside the classroom.
“It’s not just about good grades. If you have a story, share it. The activities that you do and how you choose to apply yourself do matter,” said Gregory. “If you’re going to write a scholarship essay, be vulnerable and transpaperent. Tell us about your hopes and your dreams. Our donors say that they are inspired when they read what the students write.”
Each student who receives a scholarship feels honored to attend such a historic night, walking across the stage of the Artists Theatre knowing his or her efforts paid off.
“Convocation is a celebration of the students as all their passions and efforts are validated before their families, faculty members and peers. It is a proud night for all,” said senior Alex Bonnin.