More in News
Young scholars receive college boost
MEXICO- Seventeen children in grades 3 through 6 throughout the RSU 10 district were recently awarded with $100 scholarships to be used towards their college endeavors. The students were honored at a pizza and cake party in the Region 9 cafeteria.
For the second year, Dead River Company has combined forces with Maine College Circle to help students recognize and understand the importance of higher education, the value of college and opportunities that are available to everyone.
“For some kids, college is naturally part of the plan throughout their childhood,” stated Bob Stuart, Executive Director of Maine College Circle. “For many kids, however, it’ not even thought of as a possibility. Not because they‘re not smart enough, but because they can’t see a clear path of aspiration to their dream for the future.”
Over the last few months, students worked with their teachers and families to recognize why they may want to go to college someday and what they would be interested in. They were required to express this through a written essay to be judged by members of the community.
“Last year we gave away nine scholarships,” stated Kerry Burgess, office manager of Rumford Dead River Company. “This year we have 17 to award out.”
When asked why the increase, Burgess stated, “Not only did we have a lot more students write really great essays, but we had a lot more community involvement. That’s what it comes down to, making sure our community is backing our students.”
Besides the majority of the scholarships being backed by Maine College Circle, Dead River Company and Oxford Federal Credit Union, more than a dozen other community-based businesses stepped forward with donations.
“Each essay had to be written on what college they would like to attend and what their career plans were,” stated Burgess. “It was a really hard decision to make. Some of them had recommendation letters from their teachers, which made it even more difficult to decide.”
As the cafeteria was filled to capacity, Burgess noted that the group had outgrown the facility in just two years.
“There are a couple kids who brought six or eight family members with them, they’re so excited. For some of them, this is a first for them.”
In speaking with fourth-grader Isabelle Picard, she excitedly noted, “It took me about a week to get my essay done. I worked on it at home with my mom.”
When asked what she hoped to do for a career after high school, Isabelle stated, “I want to be a fashion designer. I want to go to Parsons in New York City or Fashion Institute of Technology. I’m really, really excited to know that I got picked. I was really, really happy and started crying when they told me.”
Isabelle’s mom, Lisa, stated, “Isabelle is very focused. She looked at me when she found out she was one of them chosen and said, ‘Mom, I can help you pay for my college.’ It melted my heart. For her to think that she needed to help me, I mean, wow.”
In addition to the scholarship, each child was presented with a VIP badge to wear, a “College” bumper sticker and t-shirt. Those students chosen now, also qualify for an additional scholarship once they reach high school.
Bob Stuart advised the students, “As you’re getting ready to apply for college, it’s important that you remember, when you’re asked to write an essay, don’t write a good essay, but write a great essay. Don’t do just what you’re asked, do a little more. All of you have the power to do a little more and that’s what it’s going to take to be a great success.”