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.