By KIM ESTES, Four Points News
Scholarships awarded to Vandegrift High School 2015 graduating seniors increased by 54.6 percent compared to 2014, reported Amy Rodriguez, VHS lead counselor.
“Last year, VHS seniors were offered $13.5 million in scholarships. This year, they were offered a little over $20.89 million. Our students are the ones who deserve the utmost credit. Their persistence and dedication to their academics and the programs to which they are committed is inspiring,” Rodriguez said.
The class of 2015 is the fourth graduating class in VHS history. Each year scholarship totals have grown. Rodriguez said the statistics are as follows: The VHS class of 2012 had 252 seniors receiving $3.4 million in scholarships, the next year, 330 Viper seniors received $6.4 million, in 2014 there were 378 seniors receiving $13.5 million in scholarships, and then last year a total of 430 seniors were awarded $20.89 million in scholarships.
Rodriguez suggested award increases have occurred for three reasons, beginning with growth in the student population. Former graduating classes have received similar award amounts, she said, but overall totals were comparatively less because fewer students were in graduating classes.
In 2015, about 700 scholarships ranging from $500 to $400,000 were awarded. “Scholarships are self-reported (with copies of the award letters), so it may be that not all students submitted scholarship offers. However, I would say at least half of the senior class was offered some sort of scholarship,” Rodriguez said.
Opportunity is the second cause of increase in award totals. “We as a faculty have grown our knowledge base and students have also explored more college options. As they cast their nets wider, in and out of the state, they have been able to glean monetary opportunities based on their level of education, test scores and extra-curricular activities,” she said.
Rodriguez further noted that most students received scholarship opportunities directly from the colleges or universities to which they applied.
“We strongly encourage students and parents to speak to the financial aid offices of the schools to which they are applying and find out what is available to them and how they can get it,” she said
Finally, there was a significant increase this year in student athletes awarded athletic scholarships.
“Our academic and athletic programs have grown significantly and Vandegrift students are reaping the benefits of their hard work and dedication,” Rodriguez said.
While success in obtaining scholarship awards makes students shine, Rodriguez noted it reflects well on the community and staff too.
She said that Four Points is an extremely supportive community that continues to offer students amazing opportunities.
“Above this, we have teachers and administrators who work tirelessly to give our students the most enriching opportunities available while offering much support emotionally, physically and mentally along the way,” Rodriguez said. “I feel that the school and community present a challenge to these students and they rise to accept and then overwhelmingly succeed.”
The VHS counseling office has a wealth of information and the counseling and guidance staff is knowledgeable. “We would love to help when students and families have questions. It pays to ask questions,” Rodriguez said.