In both my April and May posts (And the Winners Are . . . ) (And the Winner Is . . . ) I mentioned how difficult it is each year to select one winner out of four East High finalists to be the recipient of an $8000 college scholarship.
I have been interviewing at East on behalf of the Rotary Club of Des Moines for at least nine years. As rewarding as it is to be the means of helping a deserving student afford to attend college, it hasn’t gotten any easier to disappoint three out of four we interview.
As an antidote, earlier this year fellow East High interview team member, Kelly Sargent proposed to the RCDM board that the scholarship budget be increased enough to allow us to give $100 Target gift cards to three runners-up at each of the six Des Moines schools we support. Of course it doesn’t compare to receiving an $8000 scholarship, but it acknowledges at least in a small way the deservedness of the finalists, and as a practical matter, it’s something they can use to purchase items they'l need to begin life as college students.
The board approved the addition, but since the annual budget had already been set, the new policy won’t go into effect until next year. My interview team, Kelly, Mark Lyons, new East High member Jim Vickery and I, didn't want to wait so we chipped in to buy our three runners-up their $100 gift cards.
Here’s the thank you letter we received from Jada Powell, one of our East High runners-up.
Dear Rotary Club,
I appreciate the opportunity you’ve provided for me throughout this scholarship process. I completely understand how hard selecting the applicants could have been, and feel blessed for making it as far as I did. You win some and lose some!
Thank you for my Target gift card; it is more than appreciated and has already helped me get a jumpstart on supplies for my apartment. Since we met, I have signed my letter of intent to DMACC, and I’ve been eagerly preparing to graduate. Thank you.