Last year the board members of the Mamaroneck-Larchmont Student Aid Fund, the 72-year-old organization that raises money from the community to provide college scholarships to Mamaroneck High School seniors, were worried.
As the economy’s woes affected virtually everyone, the 16-member board – composed of volunteers drawn from Mamaroneck and Larchmont – knew it would see more students seeking help, and, at the same time, there would be fewer local families able to contribute.
But, despite the economic turmoil, the board awarded $181,500 to 44 graduating seniors this year, similar to the amount given out in 2008. “We are grateful for the community’s support of our students, especially in difficult economy,” said Susan Bell, president of the Student Aid Fund.
The awards are based strictly on economic necessity, and since the need was greater this year – with twice as many students in the lowest-income group compared with 2008 – the individual awards were slightly less. The Fund gave out scholarships ranging from $500 to $3,000 each year over two years, compared with a top award of $5,000 last year.
This year, with a fundraising appeal to kick off on October 31, board members hope that the community will once again prove its generosity.
“We see more and more students from our high school who need financial help to go to college,” Ms. Bell said. “These are students who have worked incredibly hard and, although we can’t pay the bulk of their tuition, our scholarships provide much-needed assistance and also show how much people here care about our graduates.”
College Students Benefit From Student Aid
Giovanny Flores, a 2009 MHS graduate, said that his award meant that, “I have enough money for books this semester and next.” He is studying to be a school counselor at Iona College, and as the first member of his family to go to college, he is hoping to be a role model for his younger brother and sister.
Blessing Takawira, a 2007 MHS graduate, is now at SUNY Old Westbury studying biology with the goal of becoming a pediatrician. The money she received from the Student Aid Fund, “was my only scholarship and that little bit helped a lot,” she said. “It helped me get over the financial hump.”
Students who receive the scholarships are referred by the high school’s financial aid officer, Marcia Burkett, and the awards are given out at the high school’s PACE auditorium in June.
Katie Howard is a 2008 MHS graduate now at SUNY Binghamton majoring in Chinese, a love that started with her first Chinese class at Hommocks and continued throughout her high school years. Her scholarship meant “that much less money that my parents would have to pay.
“This community helps us throughout middle and high school,” she said, “and I think it’s wonderful that it continues after we graduate from high school.”
Want to contribute? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or send a check to the Mamaroneck- Larchmont Student Aid Fund, 1000 W. Boston Post Road, Mamaroneck, 10543. All contributions are tax-deductible.