County Schools, Rotary partner with Community Foundation for scholarships

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By Kacie Goode

Nelson County students looking for financial assistance will be able to better access available scholarships with the help of a new foundation partnership.

Brooke Whitlow, who is serving as interim executive director of the Nelson County Schools Community Support Foundation, announced at a recent Board of Education meeting a partnership with the Central Kentucky Community Foundation’s online application platform called Scholarship Central.

Scholarship Central launched in 2014 and allows students to browse, review and apply for dozens of eligible scholarships online.

“We’ve seen a huge increase in the number of applications since the process went online, and that’s just where students work and live today. It’s an online environment,” said Davette Swiney, president and CEO of CKCF. “They can log on from their tablet, from their computer at home or at school, and even on their phone.”

CKCF has partnered with Nelson County Schools Community Support Foundation, Bardstown Rotary Club and Elizabethtown Community and Technical College to allow those organizations to offer online access to their own scholarships through the centralized platform.

“Our students in our district are going to be able to fill out one application and apply for all of our scholarships,” Whitlow said while sharing the news at the meeting. CKCF will also help facilitate the review process, she said, and support the district foundation in attracting students. “This partnership is really going to allow us to focus on increasing accessibility for these financial gifts for our students and their future careers.”

Many of the scholarships open to Nelson County students include those set up in memory of former staff and students, such as Taylor Martin, Tyler Foster, Cindy Ethington, Randy Pinkston, Kathy Kidwell and Ann Ewing. There are also several Bardstown Rotary Club scholarships now available on the platform.

“Through our partnership with Central Kentucky Community Foundation, it will be easier for students to apply for our scholarships,” Bardstown Rotary Club member Tommy Reed said in a press release. “Rotary works hard throughout the year to raise money to support higher education opportunities for our students, and this will help make those opportunities more available.”

Additional scholarships are open to multiple districts, many of which are for students planning to attend Elizabethtown Community and Technical College. CKCF announced a strategic partnership with ECTC last year to help strengthen higher education in the region, and including the ECTC scholarship on Scholarship Central was part of the efforts.

“It was a natural fit to move our scholarships to CKCF’s platform, Scholarship Central,” said Dr. Juston Pate, ECTC president. “Many of the same students apply for our scholarships as they do CKCF’s scholarships. It made sense to work together on this process and have a more efficient way for students to apply.”

Swiney said around 160 scholarships will be awarded in total for the 2019-2020 academic school year, as some scholarships are awarded to more than one recipient. Scholarships vary in amount and criteria. The application deadline for scholarships is March 1, and students can register and browse any time on Scholarship Central by visiting ckcf4people.org.

“Central Kentucky Community Foundation has been awarding scholarships for more than 50 years,” Swiney said in the release. “Our goal is to streamline the process. We are thrilled to work with these three new programs, as well as our scholarship donors and organizations, to provide students with a one-stop shop for the resources they need to ensure a successful education.”

American greetings donates to ATC

While providing a foundation update to the board Tuesday night, Whitlow also recognized American Greetings in Bardstown, which donated machinery to the Nelson County Area Technology Center. The business is scheduled to close early this year after more than three decades of providing employment to the area, but the donation of about $275,000 worth of equipment will help provide training and experience to students looking to enter various careers.

ATC Principal Jeremey Booher said items donated include conveyers, PLCs, shop vacs, fire boxes, band saws, panel boxes, electrical components, welding racks, scaffolding, a metal brake, pallet jacks, parts washer and a cleaning cart.

Central Office gives back

During Christmastime, Central Office staff pooled together money to award the foundation $400 to start an NPossible teacher grant. Additionally, nearly $3,000 in T-shirts have been sold to help sustain the fund over time.