Dollars for Scholars has history of success in Jesup
By Cheryl Parker

In just a few months, many Jesup High School seniors will be graduating with dreams of furthering their education. Jesup Dollars for Scholars will be there to help them turn that dream into reality.

During the past 31 years, this group has awarded over $544,000 to more than 1200 graduating seniors. Last year, over $35,000 was awarded.

How it Began

It began in 1989 when Farmers State Bank president Albert Duroe enlisted the help of volunteers and initiated a massive fund-raising campaign. They solicited donations from Jesup businesses, organizations and private citizens. Duroe recalls that the McElroy Foundation in Waterloo was the first in this area to start up a Dollars for Scholars-type program.

When Duroe’s group of volunteers began the program for graduates of Jesup High School, they took it a step further. Interest rates were higher then, and, instead of limiting their funds to an annual donation, they initiated an endowment program. At that time a certificate of deposit in the amount of $5,000 would generate enough interest to provide a small scholarship, or a couple of smaller donors could combine to gift a more sizeable scholarship.

The Jesup Lions Club had been giving scholarships to Jesup seniors, and other groups may also have awarded scholarships, but Duroe’s vision expanded that landscape so that every student with a diploma from Jesup High School who applied and passed the criteria would receive an award. They met with school personnel, and music instructor Lee Triplet emerged as the representative from the school who would lead the school’s committee in determining recipients, and hand out the certificates at those early Jesup Dollars for Scholars awards ceremonies.

Duroe recalled how all the Jesup businesses stepped up to do what they could. Farmers Mutual Telephone Company had their TV channel, and they televised students manning the phones during their telethon. In addition to giving a lot of press space to these scholarship winners, Jesup Citizen Herald publisher Kim Adams took photos of all award winners with their donors and made prints which they gave to the students so they could personally deliver a photo to their benefactors.

Individuals were encouraged to support the program by honoring loved ones. Duroe recalled that the Donlea kids were among the first to create a scholarship in honor of their father, Don Donlea. Longtime board member Gin Vogel recalled how other Dollars for Scholars supporters volunteered to get “dunked” in a Farmers Day dunk tank. The Farmers Day funnel cake stand is dedicated to Dollars for Scholars, and working the stand has always been a requirement for any senior applying for a scholarship.

How It Works

Jesup High School guidance counselor Kristin Bauer plans to meet with all seniors this week to give them information about the program. The local organization uses the scoring template of the National Dollars for Scholars. More than just their graduating grade point average (GPA), the template also includes their ACT composite score, employment, school activities, educational objectives, and personal circumstances. In addition, each applicant must submit an applicant appraisal. This letter of recommendation includes eight criteria, which the letter writer ranks on a scale of 1-5. The window to apply for a Dollars for Scholars scholarship is about two weeks long, and opens every year on March 1.

Angie Sabers, treasurer of the Jesup Dollars for Scholars, wants to remind everyone that a tax-deductible donation to Jesup Dollars for Scholars is a wonderful way to remember a loved one in a memorial, or to pay tribute to someone who has made a contribution to the community. Many businesses and charitable organizations also choose to donate funds to Dollars for Scholars as one way to promote their interests, while at the same time promoting higher education. For example, the Heartland Technology Scholarship recognizes students majoring in business, communications, computer science or engineering. The Buchanan County Health Center Auxiliary Scholarship honors a student pursuing a career in the human healthcare field.

Read the rest of this story in the Feb. 17 issue of the Citizen Herald!
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