by Cindy Moody
If you have a senior in high school, I am guessing that most of you have just crossed the finish line in the daunting process of college admissions. Congratulations! Many of you tasked your senior with the job while chewing your nail beds down to nubs anxiously watching, some of you probably helped more than you should but couldn’t help yourself and some just proudly watched your able-bodied young adult do what they do best. While your senior waits for their final acceptances and churns through what is arguably the most tedious of semesters because of “short timers,” is there anything else they (read, you) can be working on? YES! Now is a perfect time to be applying for scholarship money, but don’t delay because deadlines are approaching.
But where? And how? And maybe your kid is not in the top ten in the class, or maybe they aren’t an athlete, or maybe they think they don’t really have anything they are good at. I promise there is something out there for everyone, you just have to give it a go. But just like the lottery, you can’t win if you don’t play. Here’s some great options for scholarship searches that can help your graduating senior earn some extra money for college:
The Scholarship System
Not that I am surprised to find a website that actually teaches you how to find scholarships, but you should check out The Scholarship System. It looks like maybe it cost some money to work the system, and yet, it may be worth it.
If you want to work it in a more grassroots kind of way, where do you start? Start with where you work. A lot of companies would love to reward their employees’ kids with maybe $1,000 or more. It might require simply filling out an application or writing a short essay, but so easy and worth a shot, right?
Look into organizations you and/or your young adult are affiliated with such as your church or dance studio. Christ Episcopal Church in Ponte Vedra Beach rewards several local seniors annually with a very generous scholarship.
High School Guidance Office
Connect with the Guidance Office through your senior’s high school. Many of the high schools send out scholarship opportunities. It’s important for your student to be in tune to the scholarship opportunities email from their student advisor. It can also be that they don’t really want to write another essay, but I can assure you it is worth it.
Griffin Moody Scholarship Fund
One scholarship very near and dear to my heart is the Griffin Moody Scholarship Fund. My family started this scholarship to honor the legacy of my son Grif who was killed in a car accident in 2016. We have honored two Nease seniors each year with a $2500 scholarship sent directly to their college or trade school. It has been an incredibly therapeutic process for me and my husband, both interviewing these incredible young adults and watching them succeed in their post graduate life. The Griffin Moody Scholarship is not a GPA or class rank based scholarship, although we do ask for that information. There is also an essay prompt which gives us insight into the mind of the student. Our Grif was in NJROTC at Nease, so that’s a bonus, but not required. In the end, we interview about 8 kids each year, out of about 20 to 25 applicants, which always surprises us, and they are usually the smart kids. In the end, our choice is a combo of all of the above, but we always lean toward the question, who would Griffin have chosen or been friends with? All this to say we wish more of the average kids would apply – we know that you don’t have to be an A-student to be incredible and have great plans for your future.
Christian Meier NJROTC Scholarship
Another Nease scholarship is the Christian Meier NJROTC scholarship. Christian is another youth that was tragically killed in 2016, and his parents wanted to honor him through his passion for the NJROTC program at Nease. This scholarship is awarded to outstanding
seniors in the award-winning ROTC programs at Nease.
The Craig Speziale Memorial Scholarship
Another noteworthy and local scholarship is at Ponte Vedra High School. The first principal of Ponte Vedra High School, Craig Speziale, passed from a long battle with cancer in 2014. St. Johns County has set up The Craig Speziale Memorial Scholarship, which awards money to Ponte Vedra High School students based on academic excellence, community service, PVHS ambassadorship and extra curricular activities. Craig was a well respected and loved administrator and his legacy lives on through this scholarship.
The Ponte Vedra Focus Blog Scholarship
Each year, Ponte Vedra Focus and The Volen Group advertise their annual $1000 Scholarship. Students are asked to write a compelling community-oriented blog article with the winning article to be featured on the Ponte Vedra Focus blog. This year we had 5 applicants giving each one a 20% chance of getting handed $1000 just for writing an essay.
This is just a small sampling of the incredible local opportunities out there for your students. Even if they have Florida Prepaid or Bright Futures, college expenses are plentiful and as a parent of a daughter at University of Florida, I can attest that we spend above and beyond what those programs offer. Encourage your student to find these scholarships and shoot for the moon!
About the Author
Cindy Moody, a Realtor since 2011, joined The Volen Group in 2022. Cindy is a Cornell graduate who enjoyed a 9 year career with Marriott and moved with them from NYC to Ponte Vedra Beach in 1990. Cindy holds herself to the highest level of integrity, while having fun along the way.