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HHS seeks donors interested in offering scholarships

Attending college and or technical school can be very expensive. The Hastings High School Scholarship Program has demonstrated over the years it can help many graduating seniors reduce the costs.

Every year for about the past 30 years, Hastings citizens, organizations and businesses have presented up to 100 scholarships, totaling about $100,000, during the high school’s annual awards night in May.

This year’s process is about to begin, according to Hastings High School counselor Naomi Marietta and Counseling Center specialist Micaela Deane.

“Students complete a local application form and we try to keep it pretty generic,” said Marietta. The form asks students about their family, their school activities, volunteer work, where they plan to continue their education and what their future career plans are. The students also complete essay questions, which can provide insight into their personality.

How the scholarship recipients are selected is done in two ways, Marietta said.

“The donors can pick who they want to receive their scholarship,” said Marietta. “Or we also have a committee in place at school which can make the pick. All the applications are anonymous – there are no names attached to them.”

The amount of the individual scholarships varies, Marietta said, from about $500 to $7,000 last year.

“We always say that this is one-time monetary gift being made, although most of the donors do present scholarships every year,” she said.

The donors come from different areas, said Marietta. Some are families who want to give a scholarship in memory of a loved one; the school district cooks present a scholarship; some businesses offer more restrictive scholarship (depending on career choices).

The selection process has a new way to determine a recipient this year. Donors will be able to select their recipient and alternate electronically. The information will be available online after the school has the complete list of donors in early January.

The other option – coming to the high school – to manually go through the applications – will still be available. For those donors, Deane completes a schedule, reserves one of the counseling office’s conference rooms, and has the donor use the room.

The school’s election committee will also be meeting during this time.

Once the selections are made, the students are notified by letter. They are told they are the recipients of a local scholarship and that it will be presented at awards night. They are not told who the donor is or the amount.

Deane is sending letters to previous donors about this year’s program and also seeking any other potential donors. Those who want to offer a scholarship have until Dec. 20 to let her know their wishes.

Once that donor list is completed, the student application forms will be available online in the first part of January.

Hastings is not unique in offering scholarships to graduating seniors.

“But what makes us unique is how the community supports it,” said Marietta. “Our alumni are our biggest supporters of what we do here and if there is someone interested, we invite them to participate.”

Any individual, organizations, business interested in being part of the scholarship program can contact Deane at 651-480-7499.