The prospect of a staggering state-budget deficit to exceed $4 billion doesn’t bode well for high-school seniors looking forward to exploring a college education. Education and human services, in general, are likely to bear the brunt of cost saving (call that slashing) measures the state legislature must weigh beginning in January.
Unlike our federal lawmakers, Washington state legislators Rosemary McAuliffe, Al O’Brien and Mark Ericks from our district must help find a way to balance the biennial budget. With higher education expected to take a real hit in state funding, tuition costs at state schools are likely to increase at an even greater pace than the already alarming rate.
The Northshore Scholarship Foundation recently posted its offerings for academic year 2009-2010 — the grants for which applicants will be selected next spring. Application forms are available on the foundation Web site, and our guess is that there will be a staggering increase in the number of applications that are due the end of February. The application number in recent years has easily exceeded a thousand. Visit www.ns-scholarship.org.
The number of scholarships available in 2009 is down from last year, but the minimum value has been increased from $1,000 to $1,500. The average of the 74 grants will be $2,082, up $383 from the current year, the result of recognizing the rapid inflation in tuition costs. Sponsors of a dozen memorial endowments have chosen to provide scholarships in alternate years in order to maintain the scholarship values at $1,500 or greater.
The 2009 grants totaling $154,075 bring the foundation’s 25 years of education support to $1,563,870 — distributed from a community-based effort built around the generosity of established Northshore residents and families with strong ties to the value of education. When the next recipients are honored at a recognition breakfast May 19, 2009, the foundation and its sponsoring service clubs will have helped 1,285 Northshore graduates take their valued step toward higher education.
The scholarships are not just for those graduating with near 4.0 grade-point averages or with the ability to score high points on applications or tests. The foundation focuses on a very wide variety of careers and opportunities — offering tuition help for those interested in the arts, communications, theater arts, welding, auto technology, aviation training, biomedical research, teaching, culinary arts, psychology, veterinary medicine and architecture. There appears to be no limit to recognizing the wide interests of all society.
Two new scholarships will be offered this year, given in memory of the late Northshore School District superintendent Karen Forys. Interestingly, the foundation holds endowments for three other superintendents who left their mark on Northshore schools — Julian Karp, Lee Blakely and Frank Love. One of the $2,000 Forys scholarships will go to an employee of the school district seeking to elevate their teaching or administrative credentials by going back to school. One of Dr. Forys’ concerns was the need to help valued members of the district staff to qualify for permanent teaching positions in the district, which would require new degrees or advanced studies in the field of education.
The second Forys scholarship is for a graduating senior of one of the four Northshore secondary schools who intends to work toward a career in teaching or the performing arts.
One of the three sponsoring service clubs, Woodinville Rotary Club, took a giant step toward recognizing the gap between scholarship values and the rising cost of tuition and fees. It will offer $6,000 scholarships at Woodinville High — the grants aptly named the “Make a Difference Scholarship.” The club raised enough money at an October charity event to offer five of these. They will go to graduating seniors who consider attending college as an unattainable goal to be for financial reasons, not their ability to qualify scholastically and succeed. The grants will be for applicants who have been accepted at a private or public college within the state of Washington.
In setting the goal for scholarships at $6,000 to cover a full year’s tuition, we’d better not count on that now in light of the collapsing economy and projected state tax revenues that support education. The $6,000 figure, though, is an important recognition of the need to narrow the gap between scholarship aid and the real costs of getting into the classroom.
Money available for scholarships through the foundation represents the distribution of a percentage of the foundation assets plus funds provided each year by the Rotary clubs of Northshore and Woodinville and the Kiwanis Club of Northshore. The foundation was organized in the fall of 1984 by the Northshore Rotary Club and will mark its 25th anniversary by writing 74 checks to Northshore’s high-school graduates and recipients attending Cascadia Community College and the University of Washington, Bothell.
Here’s one more unabashed plug for the Dec. 4 Producer’s Party supporting “The Music Project” — the program supporting music performance classes and concerts at the Secondary Academy for Success (SAS). The new foundation hopes to raise enough funds to secure the program for another academic year at SAS, as well as provide seed money to expand the concept to a junior high and elementary school in the Northshore District. It’ll cost $35 each to enjoy finger food and a beverage and hear the SAS kids belt out some jazz numbers. This will bring much-needed cheer and happy thoughts for the holidays. Jim Geiszler has the details at (206) 293-9327.
And, a note about beverage selections — the event is at Hollywood Schoolhouse, right in the heart of Woodinville wine country.
John Hughes was owner-publisher of the Northshore Citizen from 1961 to 1988 and is active in local nonprofit organizations.