By Nolan Patrick Smith
High Desert Daily
(Victorville)–Excelsior Charter School faculty and staff are doing something more than most expect: they are donating into an employee funded scholarship fund for their students. The time for Excelsior students to apply is now, as the deadline is April 29th.
Alicia Anderson, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services for Excelsior, spoke to High Desert Daily this week and filled us in on this amazing opportunity. “We have always had the ability for our staff members to donate to a scholarship. It kind of went away three years ago for lack of promotion on our part. Last year, we came up with a scholarship program and a process for our students to apply for it, from 7th to 11th grade. We raised almost $5,000 last year, and this year our staff has donated almost $6,000.”
Anderson helped us understand the process, as well as emphasized why this scholarship is so different from other scholarships, ”What we do is, we get together as a committee and last year we gave away $2,500 and this year we’re going to give away $6,000 to our kids. The unique thing about it is we offer it for 7th through 11th grade. We hold it in trust for them until they graduate in our scholarship fund. They can apply for it every year that they are here with us. This year, we are giving 15 scholarships at $400 each.”
Now, everyone must be thinking: what’s the catch? There’s no catch, but as Anderson explained, there are some requirements that need to be met. “Basically they have to graduate at Excelsior, you can’t leave and get the scholarship. They can’t have any failing grades for the last two semesters. We tried to open it up not only to excellent academics: children are different and they excel in different areas.”
Excelsior has always strived to instill not only academic growth, but to nurture soft skills that students will utilize on a daily basis upon graduating. Communication, etiquette, and teamwork are among the skills the school focuses on in order to equip students with what they need to make it in today’s workforce. In fact, students applying for the scholarship have to write a six hundred-word essay, with soft skills playing an emphasis.
“It’s a great thing, we really believe in our kids and our staff is showing it, we really believe in their success.”
Excelsior students interested in applying should contact their facilitator for more information. The application is also available online at www.excelsior.com.