Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Extra Cash for the College-Bound

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Extra Cash for the College-Bound

Article excerpt

SCHOLARSHIPS: Rotary program helps connect students with resources

VENICE

This is the best time of the year for Kim Kindell and Julie Pinkerton, who run the Rotary Futures College Resource Center at Venice High School.

They get to deliver good news almost daily to students receiving scholarships. With $1,000 here or $500 there, the totals creep into the millions. Last year, they recorded 400 scholarships worth more than $3.3 million.

Some of the recipients, like Teri Dinero, Erin Ambrose, Brooke Bezdek and Heather Brown, are still accumulating dollars; a few of the awards are a surprise that will be announced May 21 at the senior awards ceremony. They said they are grateful for the center's help and for the extra money.

"There's never enough to cover the cost of college," said Erin, who plans to study business management at Florida Gulf Coast University.

So far, Erin has received one of 15 $1,500 scholarships awarded by the Venice Board of Realtors and two academic awards totaling $2,725 from FGCU.

Teri scored a Board of Realtors scholarship in addition to $1,000 from the Italian-American Club of Venice and the $1,000 Guilda Award from the Venice Theatre Guild.

People from throughout Sarasota County -- including students from other schools, home-schooled students and parents -- may use the center.

Guiding visitors are Kindell, director for 11 years, and Pinkerton, who started as a volunteer and has been a part-time employee for nine years. They logged 4,208 visits last school year.

People seeking help for the first time should plan to spend a couple of hours.

After filling out a questionnaire with a few specifics, such as grade point average, interests and probable college choice, a computer program sorts through a database of more than 700 scholarships, creating a personalized list of matches. Students scrutinize the list, whittling it down to scholarships they want to pursue and walk out the door with a tailor-made printout of potential sources of money.

"They really helped with who was offering scholarships, because I would have never known," said Heather, who will study biomedical sciences at the University of Central Florida.

She has received two scholarships, $1,000 from the Loyal Order of the Moose and $500 from the Sarasota County Association of Educational Office Professionals. …

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