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On Tuesday, May 13, local philanthropists, business owners, nonprofit directors and individuals handed out scholarships to roughly 50 seniors from Sedona Red Rock High School.SOCSD

The Sedona Red Rock News was among the donors, giving a $500 journalism scholarship to Allexxa Brooks, one of the co-editors-in-chief of The Sting, the SRRHS student newspaper.

Brooks’ name is likely a familiar one to regular readers of this newspaper — she was one of our two interns last summer, writing regular stories alongside our staff reports for the three months of her internship as well as a final editorial just before her senior year began.

Brooks and our other summer intern, Elise McClain, both earned numerous scholarships for their efforts and will soon go off their respective universities — Brooks to the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash., and McClain to the University of Arizona in Tucson — to major in journalism and one day become the next Nellie Bly. We wish them the best.

Like these two, most of the 50 seniors at Scholarship Night appeared at the podium multiple times to receive scholarships from local businesses and nonprofits, those named in honor of Sedona philanthropists like Doc Adams, Patty Nelson and Al and Marion Herrman, and from groups like the Sedona 30 and the Rotary, Lions and Kiwanis clubs.

Attending a university or community college is no longer an inexpensive means to better one’s education and future like it was decades ago. In the early days of our republic, a university education was only necessary for doctors, lawyers and academics, but the increasingly educated population turned toward higher education in the later decades of the 19th century. By the early 20th century, thanks to a plethora of private and state schools springing up alongside existing institutions meant a university degree was within reach for many Americans. Legislation like the G.I. Bill in 1944 gave young men and women access to inexpensive higher education and higher salaries, which meant they could then afford to send their children on to college in the decades afterward, and so on.

But educational costs have skyrocketed in the last few decades. The degrees I earned more than a decade ago would now cost me twice as much if I enrolled in 2014, so our students need as much help as we can offer.

Those scholarships pay off. According to the College Board’s Education Pays 2013 report, a person with a bachelor’s degree will net 65 percent more lifetime income than someone with just a high school diploma. A person with a master’s degree will earn 96 percent more, nearly double, while a person with a doctorate will earn 143 percent more over their lifetime. An associate’s degree from a community college will net 27 percent more than just a high school diploma. Even people who spend a year or two in college but drop out statistically earn 13 percent more over their lifetime than if they never set foot on a college campus.

As a community, we should offer more scholarship opportunities to our youth. A $2,000, $1,000 or even $300 scholarship can help get a student into college. Getting in is the hard part. Once a student is enrolled, public and private universities do their best to keep hard-working students there — it’s the best deal for their bottom line as well as for extracting donations from successful alumni in the years afterward.

If you run a business, volunteer with a club or organization or have a few hundred extra dollars in your bank account, consider making the American dream possible for our youth. Contact SRRHS and ask about how to set up a scholarship. You can establish the criteria or have the school do it for you.

Handing over a check to a bright, young senior is worth every penny.


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