Things have changed a lot since we were Vikings. Did you know that currently, 70% of WSHS students qualify for free lunches at school? Dreaming about college or a trade school is a heavy financial burden for these young Vikings.
Thanks to fund-raising event attendees, sponsors, and individual contributors, the Woodbridge Senior High School Alumni Scholarship Fund has helped 23 young people with college expenses, such as books, as they begin the next chapters of their lives.
We started with smaller scholarships in our first couple of years. In 2010, for example, we awarded our first scholarship, for $1,000, to an enthusiastic young man whose father died suddenly, two weeks before the son’s graduation. He went on to study medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University.
In 2011, a $1,000 scholarship and a $500 scholarship were awarded. One recipient was a young man who is a Woodbridge native. For many years, his father coached him and his teammates in baseball and in the value of community service. He went to Cornell University to be part of a larger team, while studying engineering. He continues to embrace the ideal of community service. Another recipient was a young woman whose family moved to Woodbridge after Hurricane Katrina destroyed their home. She is studying at one of Virginia’s state universities, and is fiercely determined to help her parents pay for tuition while they rebuild their life.
In 2014, the committee decided that all recipients will receive $1,500 for their books and other expenses. Each year students explain, in their own words, “What is the driving force to continue your education, and how would a $1,500 scholarship help you?” After much deliberation by the committee members, four scholarships of $1,500 each were awarded to financially challenged seniors.
Since then, the number of $1,500 scholarships we have awarded has increased. All the young men and women who receive a check on Awards Night are truly grateful for our help. We are happy to ease some of the burdens for these young Vikings as they start their higher-education journeys.