Scholarship say, ‘We believe in you’

Every year communities all over the United States celebrate the conclusion of formal education for high school and college students.

Several years ago, I taught at Homer High School and watched each spring as scholarships were announced and proud parents and students, all smiles, received them with grand plans and hopes for the next step into the world. Having hosted several foreign exchange students, they always thought high school graduation a wonderful thing — the cap, the gown, speeches, diplomas given and the celebration as caps flew into the air. This is not a custom in most countries where a student matriculates to college without fanfare.

In some cultures, I learned teaching overseas, to my surprise, to single out a student with an award or recognition insults others who have attended school. It seems an honorable custom to award hard work, academic excellence and inspires others to work toward a higher goal.

Each spring, the Homer Foundation, awards graduating high school students with scholarships supported by permanent endowments granted to the Homer Foundation by generous members of this community who wanted to give back.

Members who had foresight that the next generation is the richest resource we have, send a message, “We believe in you!” This year, even in economic belt tightening, with the help of 30-plud volunteers, 18 scholarships totaling $21,550 were awarded to Homer area students. CONGRATULATIONS to the 2017 recipients for a job well done and recognition rightly deserved.

On May 20, Bear Creek Winery hosted its first Bear Creek Music Festival to raise money for the Nikki Geragotelis (Fry) Memorial Scholarship Fund and the Homer Mariner Fast-pitch Softball Fund, two permanent funds managed by the Homer Foundation. This scholarship is awarded for depth of person and character, athleticism and integrity. It continues to grow each year with a goal for it to become the biggest scholarship awarded.

What’s so important about this common event we’ve come to accept as part of spring activities? Besides the fact that money measures success whether we like it or not, the act of awarding scholarships, sends a message of support, of belief in that person’s ability, that learning is good, right and valuable, that this young person’s ability can be trusted and she/he a worthwhile citizen in the greater world. Confidence is placed in this young person and a belief that Homer High School is sending a student into the world for greater good. The award states this is true. A group of volunteers decided to place faith in this young person.

Homer Foundation considers it a privilege to be part of this honorable event each year. Please consider a gift to your favorite cause or begin a new fund for a new scholarship. Call Joy or Google the Homer Foundation any time for more information how you can support our wonderful young people in this community, the best resource at our fingertips.

Flo Larson writes that she is a Homer Foundation trustee and proud citizen.