Even in a wealthy community like New Canaan, there is a significant need for funds to help students from our town further their education.
Over 50 years ago, my father, Henry S. Coleman, was director of financial aide and subsequently director of admissions at Columbia University. He became aware of how critical it was for the majority of students applying to colleges to receive some form of scholarship assistance. He, along with several others, started the New Canaan High School Scholarship Foundation.
For decades the main fundraiser for this foundation was a door-to-door canvas by NCHS students to collect funds for themselves and for their peers. With generous support from local families and businesses the NCHSSF was able to adequately support the applicants who needed help with tuition.
It has been an honor to take over my father’s work in the past 15 years but times have drastically changed. College tuitions have skyrocketed in disproportion to the economy and the number of students seeking assistance from the foundation has increased significantly. I join members of the Grant and Aide Committee each spring and summer to anonymously discern who receives funds from our foundation. It is one of the most frustrating tasks as there is so much need but limited funds. Often, we can only give them enough to pay for books and travel.
Some of the stories written by the applicants are heart wrenching as they describe job loss, health issues, and multiple situations affecting their parent’s inability to support their college education. Some of those applying to NCHSSF are working several jobs while trying to maintain good grades as well as community service. These are great kids who deserve a chance to further their education.
Two years ago, to celebrate 50 years of the NCHSSF, a great group of parents joined with some members of our board, and launched an awareness campaign to inform the community of the need for more scholarship funds. The Color Run was organized as a fun event to promote awareness in all families, even those with younger children who some day, might need the assistance of the foundation.
At the same time, there has been a concerted effort to establish endowed scholarships. By endowing a scholarship, one can honor a teacher who has made a difference in a student’s life or to applaud the efforts of a graduating senior. Some have been named in honor of community leaders or in memory of a deceased classmate. The NCHSSF and the Sapienza Scholarship Fund through the New Canaan Community Foundation, are working closely together to give everyone a shot at a good education. Please help these efforts in your community by supporting our first ever Scholarship Sunday fundraising campaign on April 28th. Together the NCHS Scholarship Foundation and New Canaan Community Foundation hope to raise an additional $20,000 for this year’s scholarships.
To donate now through April 28 go here or text to give “06840″ to 44321.
Wendy Coleman Hilboldt
New Canaan High School Scholarship Foundation