Thanks to donations from a number of community benefactors, students in the Sedalia School District 200 have a number of opportunities to apply for scholarships through the Sedalia School District Foundation.

The foundation manages 36 scholarships for the 2019-20 school year.

“Criteria for selecting recipients are determined by scholarship donor committees,” the Foundation explains in the application packet. “Donors have designated the particular areas of study, community and school activities, university or technical school, etc. listed in the scholarship criteria.

“The goal is to reflect each donor's values and interests while keeping the criteria as broad and competitive as possible,” it continues. “The amount and number of scholarships awarded may vary as endowments change in value.”

More than $50,000 in scholarships are available to Smith-Cotton High School and Whittier High School students who will graduate in December 2019 or May 2020.

The average annual in-state cost for four-year public college tuition in Missouri for the 2017-18 academic year was reported to be $16,783. That represents an increase of 6.22% from the average of $15,800 in 2015-16.

For the same reporting period, the average in-state two-year college tuition was reported to be $8,678. That is a $16 increase from 2015-16.

On Tuesday when Gov. Mike Parson spoke at State Fair Community College, he noted that only 28% of Missouri citizens have a college degree. The governor stated there is “a need to have something besides a high school degree.” Parson then added, “There is a need to give to the next generation.”

Foundation members have streamlined the process for applicants. Students need to complete only one application packet to the counselor’s office. Copies will be made for the applicant.

Students are required to have two letters of recommendation: one from school personnel and one from a person outside the school district. At least one essay on “Why I should be chosen for this scholarship” is required. Some scholarships require additional essays.

Students are also asked to attach a list of their leadership qualifications and extra-curricular activities they have been involved in during high school. A teacher recommendation form is also required.

“There is a scholarship for every student to apply for - some scholarships are open to undecided majors while others require specific career goals,” Senior Class Counselor Katie Ellis explained. “Students look at the specific criteria for each scholarship and simply put an X in the box to apply.

“All of the scholarships require an essay, letters of recommendation, etc., however, there are others that require additional information,” she added. “Class rank is noted on the application; however, there are specific scholarships available for students who are in the top 50% of the class; the award usually goes to someone with a B average.”

Ellis strongly encourages every student to submit an application. She also recommends not waiting until the last minute to fill out the application. 

“It is common courtesy to give those writing letters of recommendation at least two weeks’ notice,” Ellis said. “Utilize Christmas break as a time to dedicate to completing the application. The Sedalia School District Foundation is very gracious and provides so many opportunities for our students at Smith-Cotton.”  

According to Ellis, usually about 20% of the senior class submits an application. The scholarship applications were sent by email to all seniors Friday, Dec. 6. Hard copies are also available in the counselor's office. 

Completed applications including all attachments must be submitted to the Smith-Cotton High School Counselor’s office by 4 p.m. Feb. 14.

Education Reporter

Hope Lecchi is the education reporter for the Democrat, covering all things education in Sedalia and Pettis County, as well as providing general assignment and feature coverage. She can be reached at 660-530-0144.

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