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by Paulina Mis

In honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday, students across the nation celebrated the eleventh annual Read Across America day on March 3rd. Though most festivities were aimed at the elementary and middle school crowd, plenty of high school students joined in to encourage the young and old to read on a regular basis.

Their support was both appreciated and needed. In 2005, a report published by the National Education Association (NEA) revealed that reading frequency dropped significantly for people of all ages. Those who struggled the most, individuals between the ages of 18 and 24, experienced a reading drop of 28 percent. To stop this trend from continuing, students are being taught that reading can be fun--really.  

A list compiled by the NEA offers a few interesting examples of things students and educators have tried in an effort to encourage reading. They include:

o High school cheerleaders and athletes from Hamler, Ohio who challenged students to become active readers by leading them in reading spirit cheers.

o A Dr. Seuss Party thrown by the Central Lafourche High School Performing Arts Club. The event included a Dr. Seuss show, an appearance by the cat and a cake.

o The school-wide Braxton County High reading celebration in which all students, faculty and staff had to drop everything to read during first period.

o A Washington County event in which all elementary, middle and high school students read every day for a week. In addition to a skit performed by students from a high school drama class, prizes were awarded to the 100th person who entered the library.

o The foreign language event in which students from Edmond Santa Fe High School translated and read “The Cat in the Hat” and “Green Eggs and Ham” in three different languages—English, Spanish and Latin.

But the award for the most interesting (and least appetizing) example goes to the Washington Elementary district which served its students a breakfast of—yuck—green eggs and ham.

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High School , High School News


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by Paulina Mis

Hey high school seniors (and superstar juniors), how would you like to have your school pay for your AP exams? I’m assuming there are no jeers in the crowd, at least not from students who know that College Board, the administrator of AP tests, charges students $84 for each exam.

Students lucky enough to belong to the numerous high schools in major North Virginia districts no longer have to worry about these rates. Since 1998, numerous counties in the state have been adopting the idea of helping students get an inexpensive head start on a college education. By paying for the students’ tests, these schools have been able to save students hundreds.

Those who take an AP class don’t always stop with one. Many students are taking on increasingly large loads, enrolling in two, three, four, even five college-level classes per year.  There are students who begin earlier than that, building up their resume during their junior year. The money they dish out for these tests adds up. Some students take advantage of the discount prices offered to low-income students, but most can't count on them.

Many North Virginia schools take care of this problem by entirely covering the cost of the exam. The testing fee policies do vary by school, and not all students can expect the same assistance. In return for the coverage, some schools require that all students  take the exams. Others do not. Some cover the whole cost, and others only pay a portion of the fee. Regardless, these schools deserve props for helping students meet their financial needs. It would be nice if the word spread to other states.


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by Paulina Mis

The Tea Council of the US, an organization of tea packers, importers and allied industries within the United States, is sponsoring the Calm-A-Sutra of Tea $20,000 Scholarship Competition . Students who are interested in applying will have to come up with a creative video that demonstrates an interesting way of drinking tea and mentions the health-related benefits of the beverage. Judges will consider the health-related content, the creativity and the individuality of submissions. Last year’s applicants had exceptionally kooky ideas, so applicants will have to stretch imaginations to their fullest. For such a large dollar amount, it’s worth it.

Prize:

1. One $20,000 Scholarship

Eligibility:

1. Applicants must be legal residents of the U.S. or Puerto Rico. 2. Applicants must be at least 16 years of age as of May 8, 2008.

Deadline:

August 6, 2008

Required Material:

A one to two minute Internet video that describes the benefits of drinking tea and portrays a unique way of drinking it

Further details about the application process can be found by conducting a free college scholarship search. Once the search is completed, students eligible for the award will find it in their scholarship search results.


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by Paulina Mis

Many talented high school athletes dream of playing at the college level, hopefully beyond it. When the select few receive a call about a team spot and a scholarship opportunity, most are ecstatic to find that their hard work and lengthy dedication has paid off.

Unfortunately, what initially appears to be a dream come true is not always the golden ticket families initially imagined. According to a recent article published in The New York Times, most athletic awards aren’t even close to covering the full costs of a college education. Excluding marketable sports such as basketball and football, athletic scholarships may total as little as $2,000.

Students who are invited to play at private colleges or universities which often cost as much or more than $30,000 per year will hardly be salvaged by such an award. Considering that such students have to juggle long practice hours with travel, classes and homework, they may be better off passing up low-paid team spots for additional study hours and outside scholarship opportunities.

Particularly troubling for families of college athletes is the fact that not all awards are renewable for four years.  Eligibility for N.C.A.A. scholarships is reevaluated annually, and college athletes are not guaranteed continued assistance. When this is the case, students may find themselves with little or no time for a job while attending a college they can no longer afford.

Fortunately for students who are not about to turn down an athletic offer due to funding shortages, N.C.A.A. scholarships are not the only available athletic scholarships. To find college scholarships and grants based on athletic abilities or additional criteria, students can conduct a free college scholarship search. One does not have to be an athletic star or class valedictorian to find award opportunities. Numerous scholarships, grants, fellowships and internships are available to students willing to conduct the search and put forth the application effort.


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by Paulina Mis

After years of attacking the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), elementary and high school educators have received some promising news. The Bush administration has finally admitted to certain No Child Left Behind deficiencies and chosen to make some adjustments, in select areas.

Rather than branding all underperforming schools as failing—even those with improved test scores—the administration has proposed distinguishing between schools with serious scholastic troubles and those with slightly sub par scores. To date, one of the biggest issues critics have had with the No Child Left Behind was the program’s lack of flexibility. Because all student groups, regardless of English fluency, have had to meet state proficiency requirements, numerous schools, especially ones in low-income areas, have encountered problems. After a few failed attempts to meet state testing standards, schools were faced with funding losses and possible closings.

Those that were successful in meeting most requirements but found it difficult to raise the scores of a select student group were treated the same as all other “failing” schools. According to The New York Times, 10 percent of the nation’s schools were subsequently identified as “in need of improvement”, a percentage large enough to make additional result evaluation critical.

Under the proposed NCLB plan, up to ten states will have the option to focus their efforts on schools with the greatest scholastic needs rather than on ones with mild testing setbacks.  However, only ten schools will have this opportunity, and only those with near perfect records of having abided by the NCLB law will be eligible.

Program evaluation methods are just a few of the many controversial aspects of the NCLB. For better or for worse, the law has had a dramatic affect on teachers and school administrators across the nation. More importantly, it has had a great impact on many elementary and high school students.

To promote student awareness and challenge students to proactively respond to controversial issues, Scholarships.com has created the Resolve to Evolve essay contest. This year, one of our two topics addresses the effectiveness of the No Child Left Behind Act. A total of $10,000 will be awarded to winning applicants who submit their essays.

For additional information about eligibility, requirements and other response options, students and teachers may visit our Resolve to Evolve page. For information about scholarships, grants and other financial aid opportunities, students should complete a free college scholarship search.  


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by Paulina Mis

Numerous people have worked hard to keep the memories of the Holocaust alive. Despite their efforts, many students know little about the World War II years. By encouraging them to inquire about the stories and to research the violent acts that occurred during the Holocaust, the Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation hopes to help students learn from the past and to change the future.

This year, thirty high school scholarships will be awarded to students who write the best, most-researched Holocaust essays. Those who participate will be asked to write a paper of no more than 1,200 words analyzing why the remembrance, history and lessons of the Holocaust must be passed on to a new generation. They must then suggest ways in which students can fight future prejudice and violence. Students whose essays show the greatest promise will be awarded scholarships ranging from $300 to $10,000.

Prize:

1. Ten first-place winners will receive scholarships ranging between $2,500 and $10,000. They will also be awarded an all-expense-paid trip to the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. 2. Ten second-place winners will receive scholarships of $500. 3. Ten third-place winners will receive scholarships of $300.

Eligibility:

1. Applicant must be 19 years old or younger. 2. Applicant must be enrolled as high school student in grades 9-12. 3. Applicant must be a resident of the U.S. or Mexico or must be a U.S. citizen living abroad. 4. First-place winners must agree to participate in the Washington, D.C. trip.

Deadline:

April 30, 2008 by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time

Required Material:

1. An essay of 1,200 words or less submitted online. 2. A works cited, reference page or bibliography

Further details about the application process and about contacting the scholarship provider can be found by conducting a free college scholarship search. Once the search is completed, students eligible for the award will find it in their scholarship list.


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by Paulina Mis

The Joes Foss Institute, an organization dedicated to restoring patriotism, integrity and the appreciation of America’s freedoms, will be awarding $5,000 to the winner of their 2008 Memorial Day scholarship. The topic for this year’s competition will be Patrick Henry’s famous: “Give me liberty or give me death,” speech.

If you slept through the Revolutionary War chapter in history, don't worry.  Information about Patrick Henry’s spirited contributions to civilian freedoms has been transcribed in numerous books, newspapers and online articles.  A little research will go a long way.  The student whose essay scholarship application best demonstrates how Patrick Henry’s quote and accomplishments have affected today's society will win a college scholarship and a cash prize for his/her educator.

 

Prize:

1. $5,000 2. $250 for the winning applicant’s class 3. $500 for the winning applicant’s school.

Eligibility:

1. Applicants must be middle or high school (grades 7-12) students studying in the US. 2. Applicants must not have received a past scholarship from the institute.

Deadline:

May 31, 2008 (postmarked or electronically received by this date)

Required Material:

1. An essay of original work that is at least 1500 words in length 2. A cover sheet with the applicant’s full name, address, phone number, date of birth, grade in school, school name, total word count and the statement: “I have read and understand the guidelines, the essay submitted is original and of my own creation.” 3. The essay must be typewritten in English. If it is submitted electronically, it must be sent in as an MS Word attachment.

Further details about the application process and about contacting the scholarship provider can be found by conducting a free college scholarship search. Once the search is completed, students eligible for the award will find it in their scholarship list. 


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Common Scholarship Myths

April 1, 2008

by Paulina Mis

Numerous students find themselves doubting whether applying for scholarships is really worth their time.  They assume that competition is tough and that most applicants have an exceptional academic record—not true. It’s in a student’s best interest to maximize his/her financial aid potential by giving scholarships a shot. Check out some common scholarship misconceptions below before passing up valuable options.   1. All scholarship contests are competitive—There is no denying that a few national scholarship competitions can be difficult to win. Certain corporations go out of their way to advertise their philanthropic actions, and they create very minimal eligibility criteria to encourage students to apply. However, millions of scholarships are available, and most are neither well-advertised nor open to every student.

Try searching for awards you are eligible to receive based on strict criteria. If you’re a Chicagoan and you find an award available only to high school seniors residing in Illinois, go for it. Remember, the competitors are just as intimidated by you as you are by them. Don’t give up before you start.   2. Applying for scholarships will reduce federal student aid eligibility— A number of students worry about federal aid reductions resulting from scholarship winnings. Let’s set the record straight. According to Federal Student Aid representatives, Pell Grant awards will not be reduced because of scholarships. It is, however, possible for schools to limit certain loan eligibility or to reduce school scholarship offers. But unless you’re expecting a full ride from Harvard, you have nothing to worry about. Even if you are, the effects will be minimal, if any.   3. It’s easier to work for the money—Yes, you are pretty much guaranteed a paycheck when you work, but working is not the easiest way to find money for college. Student jobs are a great source of supplementary income, but, realistically, a student paycheck is unlikely to cover tuition. Plus, scholarships and jobs are not mutually exclusive. If you have the chance to win $3,000 by spending three or four hours typing away, take advantage of it. You may have to work an entire summer for that money. Even if you don’t win, the few hours won’t destroy your social life.


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by Paulina Mis

If you’re a suburbanite used to friends graduating left and right, you’re in the minority. A report released today by America’s Promise Alliance has shown that graduation rates for high school students residing in the suburbs are concerning—until one looks at those of urban students.

According to the findings, only 52 percent of  students attending principal high schools in the 50 largest cities receive their diploma before leaving. At 70 percent, the nation’s overall graduation rate is much higher but still in need of improvement.

The largest discrepancy between urban and suburban districts was found in Baltimore, Maryland and Columbus, Ohio. Of the students residing in the suburbs of Baltimore, 81.5 percent were able to graduate. Only 34.6 percent of those living in urban districts of the city were able to do the same. The respective graduation percentages for students living in Columbus were 82.9 and 40.9. As one might expect, New York City was not far behind, ranking fourth on the list of cities with the largest gaps in urban and suburban graduation rates.

The results were based on school data retrieved from the 2003-2004 school year leading some to wonder whether the 2001 No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act was in part to blame. Many educators feel that the main goals of the NCLB Act---to minimize student achievement gaps and increase overall scholastic performance--- have not been fulfilled. Both the effectiveness and the steps taken to achieve NCLB  aims have been subject to much criticism in past years.

During this year's Scholarships.com scholarship competition, high school seniors from around the country wrote to Scholarships.com to voice their opinions on the NCLB. In doing so, these students were given the opportunity to win $10,000 in scholarship money. 

Check back in a few weeks to read the essays of this year's Resolve to Evolve Scholarship winners. If you missed the deadline, don't despair. You may still be eligible for next year's scholarships. For information about currently available awards, try conducting a free college scholarship search.


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by Paulina Mis

Each year, the Henkel Corporation awards college scholarships to individuals who are literally stuck at prom. This contest encourages student creativity and expression by rewarding individuals for creating the most tapeworthy prom attire---attire made completely out of duck tape. Submitted photographs from eligible couples will be posted online and voted on by site visitors. Criteria will include workmanship, originality, use of colors, accessories and the quantity of duct tape used.

Prize:

1. One $3,000 scholarship for each individual in the couple

2. One $2,000 scholarship for each individual in the couple

3. One $1,000 scholarship for each individual in the couple

Eligibility:

1. Applicant must be attending a high school prom in the spring of 2008.

2. Applicant must be 14 years of age or older at the time of entry.

3. Applicant must be a legal resident of the US or Canada (excluding the Province of Quebec and Puerto Rico).

4. Applicant may not be an employee of the sponsor or their family member, nor may they live in the same household as an employee.

Deadline:

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Required Material:

1. Photograph of the couple wearing a prom outfit made completely out of duct tape

2. The individuals’ first names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, ages, grade levels and the name of the closest major city to their home towns

3. A liability, publicity release and consent form signed by each individual; if the applicant is a minor, parental permission is required

4. The high school name, address and telephone number, as well as the date the prom was held. 

Further details about the application process and about contacting the scholarship provider can be found by conducting a free college scholarship search. Once the search is completed, students eligible for the award will find it in their scholarship list.


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