The impediments to accessing a higher education can be numerous. For some, it's a late realization that they should have taken their classes more seriously, let alone taking the most rigorous classes available. For others, it's finally understanding that taking their standardized tests early and often can position them for being accepted to their school of choice.
And in other instances, after completing FAFSA and their respective school's financial aid forms, money can be an issue. While not a cure-all, the Katherine Snorton Scholarship Program sponsored by the LEAD Foundation, Inc. can help bridge a financial gap and provide support for those who are making efforts to support their professional and personal development.
"We are fortunate that as a by-product of our efforts to secure individual donors and our business partners, we are able to provide funding opportunities to support our emerging populations and communities", notes Executive Director, Michael Woodward.
Named in the memory of the grandmother of one of the board members (Andrew Snorton) who only secures a high school education, yet ensures that nearly all of her children are able to earn a college education, the program provides three tiers of funding to support students. Since 2008 (and including the upcoming 2013-14 academic year), the scholarship program has made nearly $85,000 in funding opportunities available.
"Just as we received financial support and encouragement, we want to make sure to do the same as best as possible; to not do so is an insult to those who helped us get to where we are", notes Andrew Snorton, the scholarship chairperson. With a fast-approaching deadline of March 1st, graduating high school seniors, students who are currently attending a 4-year, 2-year, trade, or technical school, and those pursuing graduate degrees are encouraged to apply.
"This is what we are supposed to do: reinvest in our communities in as many ways possible", notes board member Willie Cartwright.
"Be it through our REEL Project, Alpha Leadership Program, and other programs, we are fortunate to be able to do what we can to support the aspirations of young people", adds board member Latabia Woodward.
"This is what we are supposed to do", Sharon Edwards (another board member) comments.
With previous recipients now attending institutions of higher learning such as (but not limited to) Hampton University, the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Ft Valley State, Albany State, and Florida A & M (among other institutions), the foundation, through its programming for students in grades 6-12 and the scholarship program, provide access to resources for as many students as possible, including students from emerging communities and populations (i.e. African-American, Spanish-speaking, and potential first generation college students).
"Developing tomorrow's leaders today isn't just a slogan; it is who we are", concludes board member Zahanine Streeter.
At a time where higher education costs may make one cry, a way to dry one's eye is to simply apply.