Rick Estrin & the Nightcats are playing at the Hood River Best Western Gorge Room on November 15. Come, enjoy the music, and support Hood River County Education Foundation!
The Hood River County Education Foundation awarded $119,300 in college scholarships to 60 graduating seniors at last Thursday’s Scholarship Awards Night. In addition to the 34 high school scholarships, an additional $47,750 in Continuing College Scholarships was identified by the Foundation for current college students.
The Hood River Valley High School event played to a full house of students and proud family members. For over two hours, beaming seniors strolled up to the podium to receive certificates highlighting their accomplishments. Many students received multiple scholarships. Throughout the evening, over 216 different grants totaling $539,882 were awarded to 93 college- and community-college-bound seniors. Many of the recipients will be the first person in their family receiving a high school diploma, and they will be the first to attend a post high school institution.
The Hood River County Education Foundation (HRCEF) manages over 35 post high school scholarship funds and an additional eight college scholarships. Resources to support the grants are provided by Hood River County residents, their families, and friends. In addition, community fundraisers and Foundation investments provide key dollars for continuing donors.
“Our community is very generous” said Chuck Bugge, former Hood River County School District superintendent and current HRCEF Scholarship Chair. “The cost of post high school education is increasing at an unbelievable rate, and many students would not attempt college or vocational training without strong school support and financial help. Multi-year awards are becoming more important to ensure that students complete their programs. Many of these same students return to become the workers and leaders of our community”
Four new scholarships this year are: the Jeff and Melissa Rippey Scholarship, encouraging multiple recipients to pursue community college or trade school training (renewable for up to three additional years); the Megan Perkins Memorial Scholarship, rewarding participation in the performing arts; the Isabel Gilkerson Memorial Scholarship, encouraging students with an interest and background in agriculture to attend college; and the Diana Carroll Family Scholarship, supporting current college students pursuing a career in education.
The second annual Reach for Excellence fundraiser for the Hood River County Education Foundation (HRCEF) topped expectations by grossing over $70,000 and selling out all tickets. The net proceeds from the event will be awarded as Innovative Teaching Grants to Hood River County School District educators, available to all schools and programs. The gala event was held February 2 at the Best Western Plus Inn and included dinner, student performances, and an auction and Paddle Raise.
Reach for Excellence 2019 showcased some of the talented teachers and students in the district, beginning with HRVHS technology teacher Jeff Blackman’s students demonstrating Spheros, small spherical robots that can be programmed (coded) to carry out various tasks. Wy’east Middle School music teacher Dylan Norcross conducted the Wy’east Jazz Ensemble, and HRVHS music teacher Dan Kenealy led the Chamber Singers. All three teachers have received Innovative Teaching grants in 2019. The HRVHS Horticulture class students created beautiful fresh floral centerpieces in handmade bases for the tables.
HRCEF Teaching Grants chair Aspen McKenna introduced “Building a Tower from Dollar Bills,” a competition among tables at the event to build the tallest tower using only dollar bills. The winning table received cupcakes from Nature Cakes, and the Foundation received all of the dollar bills used in the tower constructions.
The event also featured the sale of 50 “Golden Tickets,” for $100 each. Purchaser names went into a hat, and the winning Golden Ticket holder could select any one of the auction items. Winners Liz and Dave Whitmore chose the beach vacation stay in Seaside for their Golden Ticket.
Auctioneer Dave Griffith, of Griffith Motors in The Dalles, persuaded attendees to part with top dollars for auction items, including the Dessert of the Month: a wonderful homemade dessert for every month of the year, a guided tour of the remaining artifacts of the Oregon Trail along the Barlow Road on Mt. Hood, tickets to both the Timbers and the Thorns, and Mt. Hood Meadows ski tickets.
Volunteer HRCEF Board members created and ran the event. Fundraising Committee chair Mike Schend said, “Our gala was incredible, thanks to a complete team effort on the part of the HRCEF Board. This board is the best I have ever worked with. We exceeded our goal.”
Business sponsors for the event were Insitu/Boeing (Platinum), Hood Tech Vision (Gold), Copper West Real Estate, Cardinal Glass, and Celilo Restaurant (Silver), Edward Jones, and Columbia River Insurance (Bronze), and Hood River Best Western Plus. Table sponsors were Ron and Linne Dodge, Indian Creek Family Eye Care, Community Bank, Columbia Bank, Crestline Construction, Hasson Company Realtors, and Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital.
From the board and staff of Hood River County Education Foundation, heartfelt thanks to our supporters in the community. You’ve helped our students in so many ways in 2018:
- 66 students were awarded scholarships totaling more than $100,000
- The estate of Isabel Gilkerson established 3 new scholarships for $5,000 each with a large bequest
- 26 teachers were awarded Innovative Teaching Grants totaling more than $33,000 to enrich their students’ education
- Middle-school sports programs were made more available to students for the second year in a row of a three-year investment
- The student reading program Hood River Reads was supported again in 2018 including school visits by the author of this year’s book
We are honored to serve the students in the Hood River County school district and their families.
HRCEF board and staff