With 10 brand-new scholarships added to the pool of awards managed by the Graduate Resource Organization (GRO), the total of available local scholarship money for the Sisters High School class of 2020 has grown to over $240,000. 

GRO scholarships are all locally based. 

High school counselor Rick Kroytz, along with some ASPIRE volunteers, will kick off the 2020 scholarship season with the seniors at the annual Scholarship Application and Pizza Night, Monday, February 3, starting at 6 p.m.

All SHS seniors are encouraged to attend. 

Considering that every applicant in the class of 2019 won at least one scholarship, it’s well worth the time and effort for students to put their hat in the ring. 

“There really is a scholarship for virtually every situation, whether the student is applying to a four-year university, community college, or other post-high-school institution of learning,” said Kroytz. “We hope that a large percentage of the class of 2020 will apply. 

“Kids often believe that they don’t qualify for anything or that other students have better records or more need than they do,” said Kroytz. “Other than someone who truly has zero financial need, most students should apply.”

Another barrier, according to Kroytz, is the belief that the process is too long or cumbersome. 

“With our new digital application we started last year, the process is greatly streamlined,” he said. “I think of it this way: If it takes a kid five hours to do the application and they win a $500 scholarship, that’s a pay rate of $100 an hour.”

Scholarships range from $500 to over $10,000. 

The online application system allows students to fill out the relevant forms, attach essays (if required) and list activities and honors all in one place. 

The window for applications is relatively short, according to Kroytz. “We condense the application timeframe to help kids really focus and get things done, rather than putting it off. The pizza night gives us a chance to get the seniors started and pointed toward the scholarships that fit them the best,” he said. 

Applications are due Thursday, February 27. 

Parents often ask Kroytz how they can help in the scholarship process. He encourages parents to sit down with their seniors and visit the GRO website (http://shs.ssd6.org/sistersgro) to get familiar with the scholarships and the application process. “Parents can help their kids keep moving forward by checking in with them along the way.”

A list of available scholarships with descriptions is posted on the GRO website. Students can’t access the application portal until February 3. 

Kroytz would like seniors to stop by the office this week to register “so we know how much pizza to order.”

Seniors should bring their Chromebooks with them for the event. 

“Our community’s generosity and support of our students continues to amaze me,” said Kroytz.