CALAIS _ The international community came together this summer to raise more than $18,000 for the Direct-to-Student Scholarship Program at Washington County Community College.
This is the largest amount raised to date since the program began three years ago.
Last year, area residents and businesses raised more than $13,000 and 45 scholarships were awarded to both Washington and Charlotte county students.
This year, because of the generous donations, more students will receive scholarships.
“It has been a great start to the semester,” Newly appointed WCCC President Joseph Cassidy said, “But more importantly, it is going to be a great year because of all of the scholarships we are going to be able to award.”
The scholarship fund was the brainchild of former WCCC President Joyce Hedlund. Three years ago, she came up with the idea of the Direct-to-Student Scholarship Program.
Since then the program has grown and new donors have come on board.
For the first time since the inception of the program, individuals and families donated in memory of a deceased relative. Denise Marrs, owner of D & G Auto Sales and members of her family, including her son Josh, donated $500 to be given to an automotive student. Denise said she wanted to honor the memory of her father, Shepley Huntley, who at one time owned a service station in Calais. Meanwhile, another family donated a scholarship in honor of their mother, the Gladys Moholland Memorial Scholarship.
Cassidy said that he would be pleased if more families would think of setting up similar scholarships. “What better way to recognize a family member than with a scholarship in their name,” he said.
Other newcomers this year include Ben’s Fuzy Butt’s 4 Pets, Kendall’s Jewelers, C & E Feeds all of Calais and Downeast Massage Therapy of Pembroke. Ed and Vicki Farrell set up the Farrell Family Scholarship and music performers Ken & Jane Brooks set up a scholarship in their names. Mike Lally, CEO of Calais Regional Hospital and Attorney John Mitchell set up the Lally-Mitchell Scholarship Fund. Also new this year is the Shining Star Scholarship out of Eastport.
Medical personnel from Baileyville to Calais also donated including Dr. Brian Hoops, D.D.S. of Baileyville and Sunrise Eye Care of Calais.
The Calais Rotary Club donated a $250 scholarship in honor of former long-time member Dolph Lentz, who passed away earlier this year.
While Washington County students will benefit from the scholarship program, not all of the money is coming from the U.S. side of the border. On the Canadian side, A.E. Horne & Son Ltd. of St. Stephen donated $1,000 to be given to Canadian students. “A lot of people don’t realize that we have a number of Canadians who attend college here,” Cassidy said. “This donation from Mike Horne will help Canadian students complete their education, and demonstrates the growing cross-border relationship the college has with our neighbors in Canada.”
Although there are a number of newcomers this year, past supporters continue to contribute including: Andel Construction Service, LLC, Arlo Smith Family Scholarship, Bar Harbor Bank & Trust Downeast Region, the Barnes Family Scholarship, Bells IGA, Calais Ace Home Center, Calais Motor Inn Scholarship and the Cassidy Family Book Scholarship.
For the third year in a row, Attorney John Churchill of Calais also donated to the scholarship program.
Other donors included: Daylily Dyeworks of Perry, Dead River Company, Downeast Credit Union, Downeast LNG/Wyatt Scholarship or Robbinston, Eastern Maine Electric Company, the Eastland Motel in Lubec, Eastport Health Care, Eastport Port Authority, EBS Building Supply and the F. Marjorie Hedlund Scholarship.
Other companies that donated again this year were: Federal Marine Terminals, Inc. of Eastport, H & R Block of Calais and Machias, the Jenzabar Foundation, Mingo Construction, Paradis Shop n’ Save and PCT Communications. The Quoddy Pilots USA, the Quoddy Tides and Rayes Mustard all of Eastport also set up scholarship funds.
Additional donors include: Riverside Electric, Roger’s Auto Sales, the St. Croix Regional Technical Center, Sunrise County Economic Council, Tammi Smith Tax & Accounting, the Calais Advertiser, Inc., the International Motel, Thomas DiCenzo Inc., the WCCC Student Senate, Wesserunsett Consulting LLC, WQDY Inc. and Yancy’s Restaurant, Inc.
Cassidy said that one of the reasons he believes that the scholarship program has been such a success is because of the way it was structured. The donors can create their scholarship in their name or their business’ name. Donors choose the program of studies and create the criteria; $250 or more can make a difference in a student’s life.
Although the numbers have been tallied, there still is time to donate to the fund. Donations should be sent to Tina Erskine, Public Information Director at Washington Community College, One College Drive, Calais, ME 04619, or for more information about the program call 454-1002