Elementary School Students Receive College Scholarships
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“My art is what makes me incredible,” explains Hussey Elementary fifth grader Leah Pelotte. Third, fourth, fifth and sixth grade students from Augusta and Portland shared their impressive career aspirations this spring in essays detailing their interests and the higher education they would pursue to follow their dreams.
Career aspirations ranged from video game designers and robotic engineers to doctors, lawyers, sports agents. Students plan to study at Maine colleges such as College of the Atlantic, Thomas College, and Bowdoin College as well as colleges across the country including the University of Colorado, the US Air Force Academy, and UC Davis. As part of cPort Credit Union’s College Aspirations Scholarship Program, over 750 students submitted essay applications in hopes of winning a college scholarship.
cPort awarded 84 $100 college scholarships in ceremonies held at each school, where students wearing a sea of “paprika” colored t-shirts were recognized for their participation in the program.
“In the end, all of the students are winners, not just the scholarship recipients,” says cPort CEO Gene Ardito. “The scholarships are a great way to start saving for college, but what’s really important is that all of these students are thinking about their future aspirations, and how to achieve them, at an early age.” The cPort College Aspirations Scholarship Program was founded at Riverton Elementary in Portland in 2008 and now includes Ocean Ave. and Reiche schools in Portland and Augusta’s four elementary schools.
The program begins with college workshops led by Maine College Circle Executive Director Bob Stuart. In the workshops, Stuart provides an introduction to higher education options, degrees available, and provides each classroom with a poster of over 200 college major choices. He then helps students brainstorm possible college choices based on their career and major interests, size, and location.
Scholarship recipients also travel to visit a local college campus for a day as part of the program. On April 5, the 2012 Portland program recipients visited Saint Joseph’s College for a campus tour, Q&A session with Saint Joseph’s students, and lunch in the dining hall. Augusta students visited Thomas College in Waterville on April 2.