When the Frisco Education Foundation began brainstorming ways to deliver college scholarships to the Class of 2020, they were keenly focused on making sure Frisco ISD seniors graduated with scholarships in their hands.
With hundreds of college scholarships to distribute on an annual basis, the annual FEF Scholarship Night is a celebration of students and their bright futures. Thanks to the contributions of individual donors, sponsors and businesses around the community, it is an evening for the scholarship recipients to meet those who have donated in support of their future.
The typical model was flipped upside down and instead of students going to Scholarship Night, the scholarships arrived on their doorstep with much fanfare.
FEF Program Specialist Terri West coordinated a plan, organized routes and made sure the daunting task of delivering scholarships to more than 700 students was not only feasible but fun. Soon donors, sponsors, booster clubs, the Frisco ISD Council of PTAs and the FEF and FISD Board members planned to donate their time to make sure each student had their moment of recognition.
Each volunteer received a driving route, social distancing reminders, a set of certificates and yard signs and then set off on a full day of celebration. Many chose to bring their family members along as a support crew and the FEF caravans traversed every corner of the District.
“It was amazing to celebrate together as a community while inspiring our youth,” said Sunitha Cheruvu, FEF Board president. “As neighbors saw us approaching homes with yard signs, people were cheering and honking as they drove by in support and celebration of these amazing students.”
So far this year, the FEF has handed out 924 scholarships totalling more than $685,000 and hopes to distribute more.
Connie Yates is a founding Board member of the Frisco Education Foundation and has watched the program grow over the years. She joined in the 2020 scholarship distribution and had the honor of distributing memorial scholarships on behalf of her sister Louann Tadlock Stewart and her mother Polly Hampton Tadlock.
“We have attended the scholarship night for more than a decade as a family and were dismayed when we realized the regular event wouldn’t happen because it has been so meaningful to witness students receive scholarships,” Yates said. “However, distributing these scholarships across the community was truly a treasured experience.
“It was fun, inspiring, emotional and totally awesome. I had the opportunity to get to know each student, learn about their hopes and dreams and meet their families. It was a very personal experience that I will never forget.”
Yates’ family has lived in Frisco more than 50 years. As she passed out memorial scholarships, she was able to explain the rich Frisco history behind each person and their family. This included her mother, school namesake Polly Tadlock, who passed away in March.
The inaugural Polly Hampton Tadlock Memorial Scholarship was given to Memorial High School senior Aubrey Hammond who attended Tadlock Elementary and remembers the warmth of Mrs. Tadlock, who would visit the school often.
“When I found out they were coming to my home, I was blown away because I didn’t expect it at all,” Hammond said. “I couldn’t believe that so much thought and effort was being put into everything celebrating this graduating class.”
Hammond plans to start at Collin College before transferring to Dallas Baptist University to become a math teacher. She participated in the Career and Technical Education Center’s education program under the direction of Nicky Fryman.
“Interning in the education and training program was wonderful - there’s no feeling like knowing what your purpose is in life,” Yates said. “Getting a scholarship from an educator is all the more meaningful.
“Sometimes events happen for a reason. It truly feels like this was all meant to be.”
“It was truly a full circle moment to learn that the scholarship was awarded to a future educator,” Yates said.
As a community, we have the opportunity to show support for seniors who are graduating this week. The Frisco Education Foundation is actively accepting donations specifically for the Class of 2020.
As the community donates money through the June 6 deadline, the FEF will continue to hand-deliver scholarships to additional deserving seniors across Frisco ISD.
Text-to-Give: 2020Seniors to 91999
By Mail: PO Box 567, Frisco, TX 75034
Click here to learn more about the fundraising initiative.
A special thanks goes to Texas Health Frisco for their support as the FEF Scholarship Night presenting sponsor. The signs were made possible by their generous donation that resulted in all of the yard signs and additional scholarships for the Class of 2020.