2 students win $10,000 awards

May 31, 1994|By Sherry Joe | Sherry Joe,Sun Staff Writer

Two Howard County students each have received a $10,000 scholarship from the Kiwanis Club of Ellicott City -- the first time the service organization has offered such a large financial award.

Heather Powell of Mount Hebron High School and Michael Unglesbee of Glenelg High School were selected from 23 graduating seniors who applied for the first-time award.

"I was shocked," said Heather, an 18-year-old Ellicott City resident, who will study international relations and business at Loyola College of Baltimore in the fall.

"I'm happy, I'm excited," said Michael, 17, whose selection was greeted with whoops of surprise from his classmates during an awards ceremony at Glenelg High on Friday. The Mount Airy resident will attend Towson State University and study communications.

The money will be allocated throughout the students' four years of college and is restricted to books, tuition, room and board.

The amount of the scholarships is unusually high, said school officials familiar with financial awards.

Prestigious awards such as the National Merit scholarships range between $1,000 to $2,500.

"These are better," said Jane Scott, a guidance counselor at Mount Hebron High School, of the local scholarships, which are limited to a small group of students and based on factors such as financial need, grades and length of county residency.

To qualify for the Kiwanis Club scholarship, students had to write an essay on citizenship, earn a 3.0 grade-point average, live in Howard County for five years and demonstrate financial need. But only 23 graduating seniors applied for the scholarship.

Poor publicity accounted for the low turnout, said Robert S. Scarburgh, secretary of the Kiwanis Club.

The Kiwanis Club received six applications from Glenelg High School, five from Mount Hebron and the rest from most of the other schools. There were none from Howard High.

Mr. Scarburgh said he plans to increase awareness of the scholarship in September when financial award applications are sent to local high schools.

The two scholarship recipients had their own theories why so few students applied for the award. They said a fear of writing essays and competing for a countywide prize discouraged many students.

"Anytime something involves an essay, they shrink away and it's countywide," Michael said.

Mr. Scarburgh said the Kiwanis Club created the award to support education and youth.

The service club tried to target working-class students and families who would have a difficult time affording a college education without financial help.

"It's the blue-collar worker we're aiming for," Mr. Scarburgh said. "We think education is important in Howard County. What better way to improve education than by furthering someone's education."

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