On May 18, roughly one-third of seniors graduating from Peninsula High School (PHS) were awarded scholarships from the Peninsula Hawks Scholarship Fund. Once again, this fund distributed almost a quarter of a million dollars to benefit seniors who completed a portfolio application to support their future plans. The scholarship awards can be used for any type of postsecondary education, from vocational training programs to a university degree.
PHS boasts one of the largest high school scholarship programs in the state and provides nearly $240,000 per year in awards to graduates, according to program managers. Nearly $60,000 is generated each year through the SAVE Thrift Store, a full-time business that has been operating for over 25 years. The balance of the funding comes from donations by local families, businesses and organizations. At the time of this report, 107 contributions were received from the two peninsulas.
The Peninsula Hawks Scholarship Fund continues to be strongly supported by the Key Peninsula community. Some nonprofits are restricted in how they make donations, as is the case with the Key Peninsula Historical Society. Society President Judy Mills said, “The museum raises their donations for the scholarship fund by conducting specific fundraiser events, such as dinner nights at El Sombrero restaurant.”
Some Key Pen organizations include the scholarship program as a line item in their annual budgets, including the Angel Guild, the Longbranch Improvement Club, Key Peninsula Business Association (KPBA) and the Key Peninsula Lions Club. All of the Key Peninsula Parent Teacher Associations contribute to the scholarships. The Key Singers’ contribution comes from member donations, and individual offerings are granted as yearly donations from Ed Johnson, Hugh and Janice McMillan, and Jud Morris, former president of the KPBA.
“Four years ago, KPBA gave a scholarship to a student who lived on the Key Peninsula who was interested in business,” Morris said. “She will be graduating next year. She was able to use her scholarship to leverage other scholarships. She has a 4.0 GPA, works, and has been offered a job in accounting upon graduation.”
The KPBA knows how important scholarships are, Morris said.