County students raking in the cash

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 30, 2003

Local high school graduates are picking up more than their diplomas.

Graduating high school seniors throughout Lawrence County are literally collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarship money to pay for their college educations. Some school officials said the local seniors are becoming more successful at attracting this kind of money.

Dawson-Bryant High School guidance counselor Brian Mulkey said 17 of the 86 students who graduated from that school this year have accepted $100,150 in scholarship money -- and this doesn't include the thousands of dollars in government financial aid that some students will receive.

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"It's getting better," Mulkey said. "There's always room for improvement. It would be nice if they could get more than that this year."

Mulkey said three Dawson-Bryant students received Hope scholarships this year. One student received an Ohio Board of Regents scholarship. Both the Hope and BOR scholarships contribute an average of $2,300 to each student's tuition and can be renewed for up to four years as long as that student maintains an acceptable grade point average.

Ironton seniors picked up $93,000 in scholarship monies this year. Guidance counselor J.C. Medinger said 40 of the school's 105 graduating seniors received scholarships. Medinger said this is indicative of a particularly high-achieving class of students.

"A high percentage of the senior class this year were honor students -- higher than in other years. Because of this, our students were more competitive with students from other schools."

This year, some local students are setting a precedence with the scholarship they're earning.

One St. Joseph High School student, Daniel Stack, was appointed to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. Upon completion of his education, Stack will be commissioned an officer in the U.S. Army. Guidance Counselor Vicki Neighborgall said 11 of St. Joseph's 16-member graduating class have received scholarships this year totaling $328,863. Like the guidance counselors at neighboring schools, Neighborgall stressed that this figure only reflects the amount of scholarship money the students have accepted and intend to use. The amount of scholarship money the students have been offered

from schools they do not plan to attend is actually much higher.

Chesapeake High guidance counselor Tommie Johnson said one student there has earned a $20,000 two-year Cooperative Scholarship from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

"He will work for the corps of engineers while he's going to school," Johnson said. "We have never had a student who got this scholarship before."

Johnson said she did not have firm figures on how much scholarship money Chesapeake students have collected, but she gave a list of awards that students have earned: scholarships from the American Society of Engineers, a full one-year SCORES scholarship to Marshall University, and a full four-year scholarship to Shawnee State University.

"I think our kids did very well this year," Johnson said.

In Fairland's graduating class, 31 of 98 seniors were awarded $18,200 in local scholarship money alone. Guidance counselor Jim Flesher said he did not have figures on the amount of state and national monies his students received.

Rock Hill High School students collected

$169,877 this year, according to guidance counselor Bob Wilds. Of the school's 134 graduating seniors, 28 received award monies.

"We go up and down," Wilds said. "This is better than last year, almost equal to what we did two years ago."

One Rock Hill student received both an academic and a basketball scholarship to Midway College near Lexington, Ky.

Symmes Valley High School guidance counselor Linda Gillespie said almost half of the schools graduating class -- 24 of 55 students are getting scholarships and grants this year. Gillespie said $231,000 has been offered to Symmes Valley students this year.

"That's about average," Gillespie said. " I'm pleased. The number of students getting help is going up, but the amount of money is about the same as last year."

South Point High School guidance counselor Sally Mills said she did not have firm figures on accepted scholarships, but this year, seniors could choose to take a class that taught them how to apply for and earn scholarship money. Mills said South Point school officials strongly emphasize to students throughout all four years of high school that these years are preparation for college and for their future.

"It is ingrained in them, and hopefully we instill in them that the contest (for scholarship money) begins that first day in high school. We try to impress on them that every student who wants to go to college can do so. For everyone there is a way."