$725,000 and GROWING!
By Wesley Mobley
Chartered in 1978, the Swansboro Rotary Club took little time to realize they wanted to develop a continuing community project. They eventually decided that project would be providing college scholarships to graduating seniors from area high schools, and hence the story begins.
The first scholarship, in the amount of $1,000, was awarded in 1979. Little did the club realize that 34 years later, the total scholarship amount would have grown to over $725,000! This amazing amount of money could only have been raised through the hard work of Rotarians, family, friends, and every person who participated in any of our fundraising projects
As it has done for the past thirty years, the Swansboro Rotary Club is again awarding college scholarships to high school seniors in the area which the club serves. For several years this club has awarded ten $4,000 scholarships to graduating seniors from Croatan and Swansboro High Schools with the requirement that the recipients seek a four-year degree at an accredited college or university. Recognizing that there are two community colleges with large student enrollments in our service area, the club opted to modify its 2010 scholarship program to award scholarships for both two-year community colleges and four-year colleges and universities.
For 2010, graduating seniors from Croatan and Swansboro High Schools may apply for either an exclusive two-year community college scholarship or a four-year college scholarship. Students applying for four-year college scholarships may complete their first two years at an accredited community college, but must complete their final two years at a four-year college or university.
To continue to celebrate their lives, all scholarships are named in memory of deceased Swansboro Rotary members, their spouses, or their children. Children and grandchildren of Swansboro Rotary members are not eligible for these scholarships.
To be eligible for a Swansboro Rotary Club scholarship, a student must be accepted by an accredited community college, university, or four-year college.
To renew the scholarship, recipients must provide proof of full-time enrollment and good academic standing at their respective school.
Scholarship applications are usually placed in both schools in November or December and are available from school counselors. Applicant selection criteria consists of three primary elements: (1) Financial Need; (2) Academic Achievement: and (3) Extracurricular Activities.
Financial need and academic achievement, which together account for 70% of the applicant’s overall score, are provided by the respective schools and the applicant’s parents. Extracurricular activities, work activities, and personal goals account for the remaining 30% of the applicant’s score. This 30% is the only scoring directly done by Rotarians. To ensure that all applicants are treated exactly the same, Rotarian scores, along with financial and academic criteria, are entered into a computer database which generates individual scores and ranks applicants from top to bottom. The scholarship committee has used this process for several years, and it has proven to be an invaluable tool in meeting our objective of equal treatment.
Applicants with the highest overall scores are selected for scholarship consideration, and following income verification, ten scholarship recipients are selected and invited to a club scholarship luncheon. All applicants are notified by letter, regardless of whether or not they received a scholarship.
From its first $1,000 scholarship to its current level of $2,000 and $4,000 scholarships, this club has awarded over $725,000 to 271 graduating seniors from Croatan, West Carteret, and Swansboro High Schools. Beginning in 2000, the club approved an annual scholarship budget of $24,000 and authorized eight four-year scholarships at $3,000 each. In 2005, the club took a significant “leap of faith” and increased the annual scholarship budget to $40,000. This budget increase paved the way for ten $4,000 scholarships annually. Even in the face of a faltering economy, this club has steadfastly maintained this level of scholarship commitment.
Anyone who knows Swansboro Rotary knows it is about hard work, fun, and major community projects such as scholarships. The only way we can continue to maintain our level of community giving is through your financial support -- so
please keep fishing in our tournaments, attending our annual oyster roast, buying Ducks for our Duck Race and buying reverse drawing tickets!