The “4th” will be with many Frisco ISD parents who will always recall that May 4, 2017 was the night their student received a scholarship at the Frisco Education Foundation Scholarship Night at Dr Pepper Arena.
The scholarships range from $500 up to several thousand dollars, but as students such as Brooke Spencer of Liberty High School said before the event began – she wasn’t worried about the amount, she was just thrilled to be getting a scholarship.
“Anything will help,” she said.
The Foundation, which was established in 1999 when Frisco High School was the only high school in the District, presented 827 scholarships to 655 students. In all, $670,190 was given out to students this year. More than $4.5 million has been awarded since the Foundation’s first scholarship night.
The scholarship recipients all filled out applications, provided references and in some cases, met certain requirements stipulated by various donors. The Frisco Heritage Association looks for students planning to study history and social studies, while the Frisco Garden Club requests that its recipient be considering horticulture, agriculture or environmental science-related fields. Longtime Frisco resident Roger Lawler and his wife Jody gifted the Foundation with $1 million in 2014. The Lawler donation endowed scholarship funds set aside specifically for students unable to attend college due to financial hardship.
The Foundation Board and employees work with a vast range of small businesses, corporations, civic groups and individuals in the community to fund scholarships each year. In addition to the scholarships, the Foundation also supports educators with an annual grant program to help support innovative ideas in the classroom. The Foundation also coordinates with several area companies and volunteers to host the annual Mindbender Academy, a science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) summer camp for Frisco ISD middle school students.
Allison Miller, FEF director, said she was extremely pleased to see more than 600 students receive scholarships this year, but the Foundation's work to impact even more students continues.
"There are many more deserving FISD graduates than financial resources to support our scholarship program," Miller said. "We hope to continue to grow the number and amount of scholarships we are able to award to students."
Miller and the Board were very excited to be able to continue work with corporate partner and presenting sponsor of the event, Frisco Chrysler Dodge Jeep and Ram, which donated $54,000 to maximize student potential in FISD. This donation was in addition to the $60,000 Frisco Dodge donated in 2016. Frisco Dodge and FEF hope to be partners for life, according to Dodge representatives.
As FEF Board member and the evening’s Master of Ceremonies Christal Howard said, “Frisco Dodge is all in” for Frisco ISD students.
Many students received scholarships from their elementary and middle school PTAs and were thrilled to be reunited with principals and former teachers. For families and friends presenting memorial scholarships, it was also a chance to talk to young recipients about the legacies their loved ones left behind.
School namesake, scholarship namesake and longtime FISD teacher Sue Stafford has attended many scholarship nights. The event is one of her favorite nights of the year.
“I love seeing the students all dressed up – they are so idealistic and enthusiastic about the future,” Stafford said.
Even as the Foundation was giving out scholarships, Howard reminded guests that the Foundation Board is engaged in an annual campaign to raise $100,000. She encouraged guests to go to a mobile app that was set up for the event and donate at least $1 during the event to the campaign. The goal for the evening was to raise $2,017 as a class gift from the Class of 2017. At the end of the night, guests and students had donated $2,122, exceeding the goal by $105.
It was a fun way for parents, donors and students to pay it forward in support of future FISD graduates. And as many high school seniors looking at college tuition and expenses for housing and textbooks are discovering – every dollar counts.
If you would like to contribute to the Foundation's annual campaign, please visit www.friscoeducationfoundation.org.