Melinda Clark: Scholarships limited |

Melinda Clark: Scholarships limited

As the mom of a graduating senior, I am delighted by the many local scholarships that reflect our community’s investment in and value for our young people and their futures. At the same time, I was startled to discover that only approximately 10 percent of local scholarships are listed as options for the whole county. The vast majority of scholarships are limited to students who are graduating from Steamboat Springs High School.

I understand and respect that each local scholarship is a reflection of the grantor’s personal experience, values and priorities. In some cases, one’s reasons for offering the scholarship will be the primary reason that the scholarship is limited to SSHS seniors only.

But I do wonder if, in some cases, excluding other seniors was simply an oversight. After all, our county includes Soroco, Hayden, Heritage Christian, Yampa Valley High School, Steamboat Mountain School and home-schooled students.

I think that some grantors would gladly accept applications from any of the beautiful, talented seniors in our county, as they seek support for their future educations. Any applicant will be considered on his/her merits, based on financial need and the criteria of the grantor. But having the opportunity to apply alongside their peers will encourage non-SSHS seniors to believe that their community supports them, too.

So if you are one of the kind, generous benefactors who are offering college funds to local youth, may I ask you to take a second look at the criteria listed on your scholarship form, whether it’s offered through Yampa Valley Community Foundation or the Steamboat Springs High School, and to consider whether you would be willing to offer your scholarship community-wide?

Broadening the parameters may not be in line with the funding priorities of all 80-plus local scholarships that our community offers. But if the limitations were simply a matter of not realizing that the default option excluded some seniors, this is a chance to consider whether next year’s seniors from all over our community could have access to more than 10 percent of the local scholarships.

Thank you for investing in our young people!

Melinda Clark

Steamboat Springs

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