Archive for Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Scholarship fund needs a boost

April 20, 2005

Tonganoxie High School's alumni association scholarship fund could use a boost.

Art Hancock, a founding member of the USD 464 Educational Foundation, which manages about $300,000 in scholarship funds, said the alumni association's portion of this totals about $20,000.

Until 2004, each year the alumni association gave two $500 scholarships to graduating seniors. In 2004, the individual scholarships were increased to $750.

However, the principal didn't generate enough interest to pay the full amount.

"We had to use some of our principal to provide those scholarships last year," Hancock said.

With current interest rates hovering in the 3 percent range, Hancock said, ideally, the alumni association's fund should hold about $50,000.

Generally, funds are donated at the annual high school alumni banquet, set this year for May 7.

"They will be able to solicit substantial amount of funds at the banquet itself," Hancock said. "A lot of the classes contribute there."

A few years back, Hancock said, bricks salvaged from the old junior high school were auctioned at alumni banquets. This, he noted, turned out to be a popular fund-raiser.

And, local businesses are often generous with donations, as well. Hancock recently sent letters to area businesses and said several had responded by sending donations.

The USD 464 Educational Foundation, which oversees the alumni scholarship, as well as various other local scholarships, was formed six years ago.

"Basically, if you were giving a $500 scholarship out here to someone it's not tax-deductible," Hancock said. "If you give a donation to the foundation, it is tax-deductible."

The foundation serves two purposes.

"Besides giving the scholarships, we give grants every year to teachers, too," Hancock said, noting the Tonganoxie Civic Club gives substantial contributions, and other donations come in the form of memorials.

Hancock said Tonganoxie is unique in the amount of local scholarships awarded each year to seniors.

"I think we're probably doing more per capita than a lot of other school districts," Hancock said.

And he said, it may help that the scholarships are awarded to seniors during the graduation ceremony, increasing public awareness.

"A lot of schools have gone to having an awards ceremony separate from graduation to cut down on time," Hancock said. "There's pros and cons. I think it's good to do it the way they do here."

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