BY BRIAN RZEPPA
With a scholarship program that began in 2012, the Trenton Educational Foundation has now awarded more than $40,000 to Trenton High School seniors. This past year, the TEF set a new organization record and it’s one they hope to improve upon in coming years.
After awarding five students with scholarships in its inaugural year in 2012, the TEF gave $1,000 awards to 11 students in 2017; a mark that was possible in part due to the contributions from the community.
Ed Neubecker, a TEF board member, noted that the scholarship program was a natural progression of the many activities within the school that the organization is involved in.
“It’s just an evolution of growing and continuing to give back to the school,” Neubecker said. “We started with just the staff grant programs targeted at classroom settings and we wanted to do more than that. We explored what we wanted to do more of and scholarships came up and now part of our budget goes towards that.”
While distributing thousands of dollars and positively impacting so many students could potentially be a stressful affair, Neubecker believes that the hands-off approach that the TEF takes toward choosing recipients is in the best interests of everyone involved.
“The TEF doesn’t choose the recipients,” he said. “We let the counseling office choose them. We have a scholarship committee and we just indicate how big the scholarships are going to be, then we give that over to the school and they choose from there.”
This year’s class of 11 recipients — Noah Doree, Cade Kazmar, Nicole Lasich, Jacob Lipa, Vanessa Litchard, Megan McNeely, Madison Memering, Lauren Pifer, Joseph Sant’Angelo, Olivia Stachecki and Tia Moody — all were eligible for the award through a general application available in the school’s counseling office.
The scholarship program remains one of the many positive ways that the Trenton Education Foundation positively benefits the community, but Neubecker noted that there are some other exciting involvement opportunities on the horizon.
“We’ve done different projects, Black Out Bullying and Challenge Day, and we established special projects committee that helps create new programs. We’re announcing our first ‘Big Idea’ in September and we think it’ll really do some good for the schools.”
By continuing to give back to the schools, students in Trenton are able to benefit each and every day from the work of the Trenton Educational Foundation. With community support, these programs will be able to keep thriving years into the future.
“A certain percentage of our budget each year is set to go into the scholarship fund, so it’s just a matter of successfully fundraising,” Neubecker said. We have our Signature Event later in the year, as well as staff tributes, and we also accept donations through our website.”