TROY — Thirty-three recipients received grants toward the 2018-19 academic year on Wednesday evening at the 2018 Last Dollar Grants award ceremony, presented by The Future Begins Today (TFBT) scholarship committee at Troy-Hayner Cultural Center.
Over $42,000 in Last Dollar Grants were awarded to recipients pursuing career training or higher education, including 30 Troy High School alumni and three Troy Christian High School alumni.
Scholarship committee presenters included TFBT executive director Natalie Rohlfs, TFBT board chairperson Alan Zunke, scholarship committee chairperson Loren Evilsizor, Troy school board member Ginny Beamish, and director of curriculum and instruction Dr. Michael Moore.
“Over the years, I’ve seen The Future Begins Today and Last Dollar Grants make a difference in students’ lives,” said TFBT board chairperson Alan Zunke, in an address to recipients. “I’ve served alongside the parents of some of our Last Dollar Grant students and heard them share the impact these grants have made on the lives of their children.
“Several of our trustees are former grant recipients, and have given great insight on the impact Last Dollar Grants have had upon their lives. No matter what field you’re entering, I’m looking forward to seeing the great things you’ll be doing in your chosen careers.”
This year’s grant recipients include, alphabetically, Claire Buerger, Meredith Covault, Ally Decker, Bill & Carla Lohrer Leadership Award recipient Valeri Gibson, Tuition Match at Edison State Community College and Alan Zunke Award recipient Brooklyn Grove, Megan Hartley, Jill Wilson Award recipient Kailyn Hatfield, Alaura Holycross, Collin Hubbell, Meaghann Joseph, Zachary Kiss, Carlene McGuirk, Melissa Mengos, Victoria Miller, Matthew Newcomer, Katelyn Overla, Dunham’s Lawn Care Educational Award recipient Isaiah Purves, Zachary Reichelderfer, Raiann Rohlfs, Lauryn Rutan, Matthew Schmitt, Tuiton Match at Edison State Community College recipient Dana Senter, Amanda Setser, Jonathan Slone, Jordan Slone, Jill Wilson Award recipient Celia Stanley; Cynthia Stanley, Megan Studebaker, Jessica Sutherly, Jacob Sweeney, Megan Sweeney, and Zion Taylor.
Newly added to this year’s proceedings was the TFBT Tuition Match Program at Edison State Community College, with two recipients chosen for the program’s first grants. Brooklyn Grove and Dana Senter will each receive a $1,000 Last Dollar Grant from TFBT, and each will have their award matched by Edison State.
Dr. Doreen Larson, president of Edison State Community College, said, “The goal of the new Tuition Match Program between TFBT and Edison State is to remove any financial barrier for students who want to attend college. For some families, federal financial aid does not cover enough to make college affordable. This is a way to fill the funding gap and open the door to the quality and value of an Edison State degree.”
Kurtis Johnson, former TFBT student currently studying law at Louisiana State University, served as honored guest speaker at the event, offering recipients words of wisdom to remember during their college tenures.
“You’re never too young or too old to receive advice,” Johnson said. “If anyone in any situation gives you advice, listen to it. If it fits your situation, take it and run with it. If it doesn’t, take parts that fit your situation, or make an example of what not to do.”
Johnson also expressed the importance of setting goals, trying to make learning fun, pursuing something that you love, and remembering where you came from.
“I promise that as you continue on this journey, even if you feel alone, you’ll always have people in your corner,” Johnson exclaimed.
Since 2000, Troy students have had the opportunity to apply for Last Dollar Grants to fill the gap in funding their room, board, and tuition expenses. Students can apply annually within five years past high school graduation.
The Future Begins Today (TFBT) is a not-for-profit organization that believes in creating opportunities for Troy students to succeed, providing support systems and opportunities to students who otherwise might not view post-secondary education as an option.
For more information, visit www.thefuturebeginstoday.org.