PITTSBORO — Cold calling local residents might seem like an intimidating endeavor, but as Tri-West High School students enter the third year of their fundraising phone-a-thon, it’s becoming routine.
The program continues to grow and now allows $1,000 scholarships for 31 students. This year, students from ninth to 12th grades will be calling area residents from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 23 and from noon to 4 p.m. Feb. 24.
“The first year we did it, we thought we’d shoot for three scholarships,” said Kathy Waite of Tri-West Dollars for Scholars, “and it’s been amazing. The community has responded so well.”
Last year, 18 students were awarded scholarships. Waite says the process of choosing scholarship winners is completely anonymous.
“We have five judges and they are anonymous,” she said. “They are all folks who have strong ties to the community and come from every corner of the community, successful in their chosen fields. They read all of the essays and scholarships are awarded solely on the essay ranking.”
She said that the names of the students are taken off of the essays and they are simply given numbers, giving anonymity on both ends.
This year, the essay focus is to persuade a hypothetical student who can choose any high school in the state to make their choice Tri-West. Waite said the essays typically focus on something relating back to their experiences at the school. She also said that the strength of the program is in the community.
“That’s the secret to our success,” she said. “The community really enjoys sponsoring our kids. They really enjoy supporting our kids. The kids do all the work. They’re the ones calling people in their homes and it’s tough to say no to a kid who’s asking you to help them (with their education).”