“For the first time, the least [amount] of scholarship [money] anyone will leave with ... is $1,000,” foundation board member Lee Burger said. “Scholarships are going to be from $1,000 ... to $5,000.”
Burger explained, for example, a donor may set the requirement for a scholarship as being exclusive to a certain GPA and for the recipient to attend a specific college or university.
Leslie Sorensen, who is approaching her sophomore year at the University of West Georgia and who previously graduated from Woodland High School, received a scholarship through the Rotary Club and the foundation itself, which also awards general scholarships based on its own criteria.
“We had to write a paper for [the scholarship application] and I had to turn in my grades from high school, and this year, I had to turn in my grades from college as well,” Sorensen said, who learned about the scholarship opportunity while working at Barnsley Gardens and meeting a foundation member. “[I wanted] to do anything I could to help my parents out to pay for school; that was important to me.”
Her father, Tom Sorensen, said while the scholarship is an honor and a privilege, its benefits go beyond aiding in paying for college.
“It’s been a great financial help, obviously, and her keeping up with her sponsors has helped her be responsible for the scholarship,” Tom Sorensen said.
Burger said the foundation will continue to reach out to students via the annual high school PROBE fair while fundraising events like All About the Bag and Tailgating for a Cause reach parents and donors alike.
“It’s just a wonderful program to help students in our four high schools who are in need of help,” Burger said. “Although the HOPE Scholarship helps a great deal today, this is a great supplement for it.”
Since its inception, the foundation has awarded about $4 million in scholarships to about 4,000 students. The application for scholarships goes online each year beginning Jan. 1 and the deadline for applications is April 1.
For more information, visit www.etowah.org or call 770-382-1757.