As Tomato Fest approaches, officials with West Side Elementary school will have a booth to raise money for their West Side Elementary Alumni Scholarship given to graduating seniors.
The school will sell chips and drinks along with the West Side cookbook. All proceeds will go to the scholarship fund.
Three seniors from Jacksonville High School were the first recipients of $500 scholarships this year.
The idea for a scholarship first came about after the principal, assistant principal and reading specialist went to a conference in Chicago, instructor Molly Thrash said.“They heard about a school giving a scholarship to alumni and they came back and thought it would be a good idea for West Side students,” she said.
In March, West Side held an art show and music extravanganza as its first fundraiser. Simultaneously, the school had a hotdog supper sale and lemonade stand to raise money.
West Side then sent applications for high school students to fill out. A requirement was the senior had to have attended West Side. Meanwhile, as part of the “No Excuses University” program used to promote college, fourth-graders were asked to come up with two interview questions they were interested in asking the applicants.
“We picked the best questions from the classes and nine students were chosen,” Thrash said.
The nine students interviewed the applicants individually and deliberated amongst themselves on who would be the best recipient to represent West Side Elementary.
“It was mind blowing,” fourth-grader Cooper Moore said. “We had to write down everything they said.”
Although they were asked to choose one recipient, Principal Sandi Jones surprised the students and told them all three applicants would receive a scholarship.
“We thought this would be good for the fourth-graders to take a look at what it takes to go to college and look at the qualifications all of the three recipients had,” she said.
Jones said although the students were familiar with scholarship terminology, but they were able to learn about the professionalism of interviewing and even got some tips from the seniors.
“They told us to make good grades and help out in the community,” fourth-grader Jordyn Whitaker said.
The students involved in the interviewing process said they were more interested in going to college after their involvement.
“One day when I'm in high school and I have good grades, I'm going to apply for the scholarship and remember what it was like to ask (the interview) questions,” fourth-grader Amber Tucker said.
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