SUPPORTING CURRENT AND ALUMNI STUDENTS — Former George Washington High School valedictorians attended a recent spring reception for the school’s Scholars for Scholars chapter. Chris Boylan (center), chapter president and a teacher and coach at George Washington said the non-profit supports all of the district’s 3Es.
Chapter members will kick off fundraiser on June 1; asks community to help
Since 2006, George Washington High School’s Dollars for Scholars chapter has awarded nearly $350,000 in scholarships to more than 290 students pursuing their post-secondary plans.
Those numbers will grow in June, when close to $29,000 is awarded to 26 students during Senior Awards Night. The scholarship amount also includes renewable gifts to George Washington alumni.
While Chapter President Chris Boylan is proud of the nonprofit’s efforts, he’s quick to point out that this is NOT a college scholarship program.
“What we are is a post-secondary program, and that includes any kind of post-secondary training,” said Boylan, who is also a Life Skills teacher and a coach at George Washington. “Most of our scholarships go to colleges, but it’s not limited to that. We have written checks for barber and cosmetology schools. We even did a dog-grooming school one year for a student who wanted to start her own dog-grooming business, and there was a school in Greenwood that offered certification.”
Supporting a variety of post-secondary options falls in line with the district’s 3Es: enrollment in a college or university, enlistment in the military or employment at a livable wage upon graduation.
To help the chapter continue its successful efforts, Scholarship America — a Dollars for Scholars partner — awarded the group a 2019 Renewable Scholarship Matching Grant for $10,000.
The grant, which will be received after the George Washington chapter raises its own $10,000, is dedicated to supporting the school’s alumni.
Boylan said the fundraiser will kick off June 1 and donations can be made at https://georgewashingtoncomm.dollarsforscholars.org. He wants to use this fundraiser to build new partnerships, both private and corporate, to help students reach their post-secondary dreams. “Once we hit our $10,000, they will send us a check for another $10,000,” said Boylan.
Over the years, renewable scholarships have become a large part of George Washington’s Dollars for Scholars program.
“Offering renewable scholarships reinforces our commitment to our students that support does not end at graduation,” said Boylan.
Money raised through the fundraiser and matching grant will be distributed among graduating seniors during the 2019-2020 school year.
To ensure students are aware of the Dollars for Scholars program, Boylan has his own promotional tactics. When freshman come in each year, Boylan is right there promoting Dollars for Scholars and the free money they can obtain.
“I tell them, ‘Finish four years here, get your diploma and fill out the application, and there is a scholarship waiting for you at the end of your high school career,’” he said.
The scholarship application opens each January and closes in May, with awards presented in June. Scholarships are based on a variety of factors, but are more need-based. Renewable scholarships are distributed twice a year, in December and May.
Boylan, a graduate of Northwest High School, said the Dollars for Scholars chapter at George Washington High School has allowed not only him, but also the community, to continue supporting IPS students.