Posted on Aug 10, 2022
Each year, our Rotary Club gives scholarships to a small number of students who are graduating from the Poudre School District and will be attending either Front Range Community College or Colorado State University.  For our in-person noon meeting on August 10th 2022, Robin Steele, Chair of our club’s Scholarship Committee (which includes 12 club members), summarized for us the criteria for selection of the students to be honored, the nature of the scholarships to be awarded, and the process of evaluating the potential recipients.  This was followed by a brief introduction of the scholarship recipients, several of whom attended the meeting. 
The criteria for eligibility for the scholarships include that each student must be either a soon-to-graduate senior or a recent graduate from one of the Poudre School District’s high schools and he/she must be planning to attend either Front Range Community College or Colorado State University.  The students are then evaluated on the basis of academics, extra-curricular activities, community service or volunteer work, demonstrated leadership characteristics, and demonstrated work ethic or work experience.  Although financial need, based on the student’s FAFSA score, is considered, it is just one of the criteria and no strong candidate is ever eliminated solely on the basis of low financial need.
The process starts with a list of ten exceptional students from each of the Poudre School District’s high schools.  After being screened to five students from each school, each student is asked to submit an essay on his/her view of how the Four-Way Test may apply to their life and how it can be applicable to their future life. Finally, each student is interviewed by members of the scholarship committee.  Prior to Covid, the interviews were in-person at the various high schools giving a definite “up close and personal” impression of each student.  Due to the time commitment of live interviews, only a handful of, mostly retired,  Rotarians were able to attend the in-person interviews.     During the Covid restrictions, all of the interviews were conducted on Zoom and many new Rotarians were able to  participate.  The breadth and diversity of Rotarian involvement increased greatly, but the personal touch with the students was lost.  Following the live interviews, two students and an alternate are recommended by the team of interviewers for each school.     Using input from the interview teams, the committee chair assigns the final scholarships
There are ten scholarships, ranging from $2000 to $3000 per year, awarded each year.  Three of those are from the club directly.  The remainder are named scholarships (each backed up by a grant to the club of sufficient funds to continue the scholarship for a number of years), each of which may include some additional criteria (e.g., to major in computer science) for selection of the recipient.  Although the scholarships are for a year, the student receives half for the Fall semester and, depending on maintaining a minimum 3.0 GPA, the second half for the Spring semester. 
This introduction was followed by the introduction of the student recipients.  Each student presented a short video outlining his/her hopes and plans for the future and thanks for the scholarship support.  The recipients, along with the name and amount of the scholarship, are: 
Brandon Loyd              James Morrison Memorial Scholarship                                  $2000
Harika Shankar            Dr. Yung Hai Chen Memorial Scholarship (Front Range)       $2000
Kealoha Rumion          Plemmons Family Scholarship                                                $3000
Lelyn Lopez                 Rotary Club of Fort Collins Charities                                      $2000
Luke Spencer               Rotary Club of Fort Collins Charities                                      $2000
Payton Toohey            Rotary Club of Fort Collins Charities                                      $2000
Eva Brewer                  Dr. Yung Hai Chen Memorial Scholarship (CSU)                     $3000
Shannon Rooney         Richard W. Schump Memorial Scholarship                            $3000
Samantha York            John David Sullivan Memorial Scholarship                             $2000
Lauren Pratt                Jane Wetzel Memorial Scholarship                                        $2500
How does one set up a named scholarship?  Make a donation to the Rotary Club of Fort Collins Charities of sufficient funds to grant the scholarship for a significant number of years and specify any criteria to be used in deciding on the recipient