For many Alpine High School graduating seniors, the end of the academic year signals another rite of passage and an end to K-12 education. College preparation is looming on the horizon.
For many students, the ability to secure scholarships is essential, and propels them to succeed in college. Guidance Counselor Sandra Alvidrez is determined to help seniors succeed as they look forward to a higher education. Several scholarships are approaching application deadlines, so time is of the essence for seniors to apply.
Big Bend Morale, Welfare, and Recreation of Marfa is offering a $500 scholarship to an Alpine High School senior, made possible in part by current and former employees of the U.S. Border Patrol and the Knights of Columbus in Alpine.
Other community organizations and financial institutions offering scholarships are West Texas Community Credit Union, Frontier Masonic Lodge, TransPecos Banks, and Fort Davis State Bank. Three memorial scholarships are also available, one honoring Jim Lee, a former teacher at the high school; another honoring Kaleena Ramos, a beloved high school alumna; and the third honoring Bob Dillard, the former Fort Davis newspaper publisher.
Alvidrez said most of the scholarship funds awarded would be sent directly to the college the senior will attend, while others, such as the Frontier Masonic Lodge, would award the funds directly to the graduating senior.
She pointed out that several scholarships were merit based, where grade point average and class ranking were examined, but others were more focused on community involvement.
“There are scholarships open to kids who may not have the highest GPA, but have done a lot within their community, or have been a part of a club or organization. They are able to get these scholarships as well,” said Alvidrez.
According to Alvidrez, around 20-25% of the Class of 2020 have applied for the scholarships, and this year more students have applied than in previous years.
Students are notified of scholarship opportunities by email, and high school teacher Vaughn Grisham uploads and updates scholarship applications to the high school website. Alvidrez also sends reminders to seniors, as time is ticking for them to be considered for these coveted awards.
Because of school closures related to the coronavirus scare, Alvidrez said the Class of 2020 was unique.
“I think this year is something our seniors are going to probably remember for a very long time,” Alvidrez said. “I think everybody knows that this is a very special moment for them. I think everybody is trying to make them understand that this happened, but your future is still waiting for you, and we are going to make sure you get there.”