Money is in the air


Amanda Lira

During her senior year, Valerie Iwamoto applies for local scholarships in hopes of getting extra money to pay for college finances. Seniors have to submit applications, resumes, and an essay for the local scholarships by Fri., Jan. 17.

Gabriela Sanchez, Arts and Entertainment Editor


While seniors completed and submitted their final college applications, they faced new deadlines, including the local scholarship opportunity that officially closed on Tuesday, Jan. 21. Students had to prepare a high school resume, write a brief essay, and submit an online application in order to qualify.


The upcoming fall will mark the first semester of college for several graduating seniors and with the heavy costs of textbooks, class units, and housing, college tuition is one the main incentives to apply for local scholarships. Senior Jaqueline Alejos, who works part time in Ultimate Fashion Dance Store, is applying as an effort to relieve her parents of further financial burdens.


“I want to use it[local scholarship money]to help my parents pay for my tuition,” Alejos said. “My plan is to not make my parents pay a penny because like for many other families, the tuition can be expensive. I want to use it to buy any school supplies, like books.”


Although the scholarship requirements are not lengthy, digging up hours out of the day to fill out applications and write an essay that will help scholarship committees decide who is the best fit candidate proved to be difficult for AP and honors student Francisco Flores.


“The most stressful part of the application is the deadline,” Flores said. “Anything is doable with enough time, but I usually feel like I could have done a little bit better if I could have spent more time on it. Especially with so many AP classes and their homework taking up so much of my time, I find it difficult to find time for unnecessary undertakings.”


Students struggled with the writing portion, uncertain of how to paint themselves with the words to describe a specific high school experience that contributed to self-growth, their future plans and expectations, or how financial aid would benefit their college plans. A response, that must not have exceeded 250 words, was encouraged to be genuine, to express a certain voice and allow personality to shine through, and to be original. Planning to attend a four year university and taking advantage of possible tuition money opportunities, Valerie Iwamoto found herself tied for words with such constraints.


“The most stressful part is finding the right words to express yourself, and trying not to exceed the word limit,” Iwamoto said. “The word limit is painful because how are you supposed to describe yourself or a life-changing moment in 250 words or less? I just keep writing and writing because it’s scary knowing you might not get accepted because you chose the wrong moment in your life that best describes you.”


Creeping deadlines overcome seniors with angst but the benefits–to earn free money that can be used at their own will–outweighs the costs, a couple of hours dedicated to an application.


The various scholarships range from the American Youth Soccer Organization to Sussman Middle School PTA, awarding students grants ranging from $50 to $2,000.