After presenting more than $152,000 in scholarship awards last spring – a record — the local chapter of Scholarship for America has exceeded $2.89 million in awards over its 56-year history, according to Ronald Stewart, the chapter historian.
That means next year the chapter is poised to surpass $3 million.
And the number of recipients has exceeded 3,300, mostly Bedford High School seniors but also the occasional graduate of other public or private schools who are local residents.
Jean Segal, president of CSF of Bedford Dollars for Scholars, thanked the community this week for its generosity: “It’s hard to find the words to express adequately the level of appreciation I have for the response. More importantly, donors should know how grateful the students are to be recipients of scholarships made possible by their neighbors.”
Alma Pomponi, mail-athon co-chair, noted that for the second consecutive year, awards had to be presented virtually. “Thank you so much to Bedford TV for stepping up for a second time to ensure a warm memory of our small New England town that our graduates can carry with them,” she said.
Segal applauded MITRE Corp., “which has sponsored the annual fundraising drive for a remarkable 25 consecutive years. MITRE helped us shift from our phone-athon to the hugely successful mail-athon. She added that “new board members helped us reach more people through social media outlets.”
“Not only did more people use it but the average gift was substantially higher,” Stewart said. He added that there were a number of first-time givers. “We have a very generous community,” Pomponi said the mail campaign resulted in about $50,000 in contributions.
“Our community has always shown support for education,” Stewart observed. He pointed out that there is a core of households whose children experience all of the grades together, from kindergarten through high school, which “helps our support over the years.”
And he applauded Superintendent of Schools Philip Conrad for promoting Dollars for Scholars in his communications to all parents, even those of the youngest cohort.
Segal noted, “Letters we receive from scholarship recipients all have an underlying theme: that the students feel a little less anxious about covering some of their college costs, and they want to make Bedford proud. CSF of Bedford Dollars for Scholars has always had tremendous support from the Bedford community, but this past year saw an even greater outpouring despite, or perhaps because of, the pandemic.”
Upcoming for Dollars for Scholars will be an informational booth on Bedford Day and the annual fundraiser in conjunction with the Flatbread restaurant in November.
Mike Rosenberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 781-983-1763