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Scholarship money increasing by degrees

It is never easy to say goodbye to children after they graduate from high school, especially with college tuition increasing yearly, an apartment to pay for and those never-ending stomachs that need to be fed.

But despite those college bills, some parents from Bearden and Farragut may have a little more room to breathe this year, financially that is.

Farragut High School and Bearden High School topped the list in 2006 for seniors receiving scholarship and grant money to continue their education studies.

The 2006 FHS graduating class received $11,164,738, the largest amount for a public high school in the Knox County Schools system. The graduating class at BHS received $6,798,200, the second largest amount.

There currently are 12 public high schools in Knox County.

Guidance counselors at Farragut High School and Bearden High School attribute better grades and more challenging academic course loads to the scholarship success.

“Seventy percent of the graduating class had GPAs of three-point-zero or higher. That’s phenomenal,” said Eva Peters, guidance counselor at FHS.

Seniors begin applying to colleges before Christmas Break begins, and apply for scholarships in mid-April. Students receive a response around

May 1.

This year, 585 students graduated from FHS. Ninety percent of those students applied to an institution of higher learning.

Guidance counselors at Farragut provide in-depth counseling for students searching for a college to attend, Peters said.

Peters’ job also includes writing letters of recommendation, assisting with college decisions and providing scholarship information.

Bearden High School guidance counselors also organize a college fair, where 150 college representatives are available for questions from students, said Janet Slabbekorn, guidance counselor at Bearden.

“We go through the college application process with all the seniors multiple times,” Slabbekorn said. “I spend a lot of time beating the bushes to get them to apply because the more they apply the better they’ll do.”

Scholarships cover different things such as full tuition for all four years, room and board, funding for books, or a scholarship could even provide all tuition payments and a stipend for apartment rent and food, Slabbekorn said.

The wide variety of scholarship opportunities and an application process that often requires an essay can make it very stressful on high school students, who are also trying to keep their GPA up during their senior year, Peters said.

“Students have to do a lot of leg work,” Peters said. “There’s a lot of money out there but you’re going to have to work

for it.”

Counselors at Farragut provide parents with information about different grants, scholarships and loans, but Peters tries to discourage student from taking out loans.

“I know sometimes it has to be done, but I try to tell students, save loans for graduate school,” Peters said.


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