LIZTON — When Tri-West High School started its Dollars for Scholars program, organizers had no idea that national recognition would follow. But the program was recently named as the 2012 Stuart and Marlys Johnson National New Chapter of the Year, an honor that goes to chapters that have been created within the last five years.
The Tri-West chapter was able to raise more than $17,000 in scholarships from its Phone-a-Thon, up from the $13,000 raised in 2011.
“We thought we had experienced great success.” Kathy Waite, president of the Dollars for Scholars chapter here, said. “The community was just so responsive to the Phone-a-Thon. There’s a lengthy application process you fill out and it goes to the state level first, but we received notice that we received the state award and the $1,000 scholarship that came with it. We went to the recognition dinner, then we heard what some of these other chapters have been doing over the years. We’re off to a great start, but we have a long way to go, we thought.”
All state level winners moved onto the national level. Waite is not yet sure of the stipend that comes with the award, but she said that they will be putting that money back into scholarships for students.
“It’s been such a rewarding process for all of us,” she said. “There’s tremendous support through Scholarship America and Dollars for Scholars. We couldn’t have asked for a better experience. We hope each year we get a little stronger, and hope we can get more community awareness that we’re working to provide scholarships and it’s been a great thing.”
Waite said the group plans to continue to help Tri-West students in their post-high school careers.
“Based on the feedback we received from our students in this year’s scholarship application essays, we are helping coordinate an informational presentation sponsored jointly by the Tri-West Guidance Department and Tri-West Dollars for Scholars,” she said. “We will have speakers on topics such as writing effectively and successful college application and scholarship essays. We’ll also have presenters talking about scholarship opportunities available and how to find them.”
Scholarship America began in 1958 with the first Dollars for Scholars chapter. Since then, it’s helped more than 1.7 million students attend college. The Tri-West version will soon be rolling out a website, tri-west.dollarsforscholars.org.