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Posted on Fri, Mar 30, 2012 : 12:07 p.m.

Deadline draws near for Ann Arbor Community Foundation student scholarships

By Danielle Arndt

A Huron High School hockey player, a female interested in technology, a Polish immigrant or a student who held a job during high school while juggling extracurricular interests?

There may be a scholarship for that.

Students have through Monday to apply for a slice of more than $100,000 in financial aid.

The Ann Arbor Community Foundation manages 38 scholarship funds annually. Last year, it awarded 134 grants, totaling nearly $130,000, to local high school and college students.

With several area school districts off on spring break next week and students enduring long car rides or plane rides to warmer climates, there are scholarships with both online and paper applications to help fill the travel time.

The majority of applications are due by Monday, but a few funds, largely the ones with paper applications, have their own deadlines.

The amounts to be awarded range from $500 to $3,000.

The scholarships themselves, as well as the criteria and requirements, cater to a variety of interests, academic levels and post-secondary paths.

Cheryl Elliott, president and chief executive officer of the community foundation, said one scholarship requires a good driving record, another asks you to tell a joke, many ask applicants to write an essay about overcoming a challenge, some give a chance to students with a 2.0 GPA and one requires students to talk about the ills of tobacco or promise to quit smoking.

Elliott said each scholarship fund has a purpose and a story to tell.

“They are great stories and (the money) makes a great impact in people’s lives. But often it is also a way to help the families cope and carry on someone’s memory,” she said.

A number of the scholarships the community foundation hosts were set up to honor someone who has died — often at a young age — from a horrible accident or disease. Others have been established by a corporation to benefit the children or grandchildren of their employees.

The essays students submit can bring tears to your eyes, Elliott said.

“We get some very meaningful and thoughtful and really heart-touching (applications),” she said. “Some of these (students) really need the financial assistance … and you just think, wow, the tough stories they share, and yet they want to go on and improve themselves.”

Some of the more unique scholarships are for:

  • Washtenaw County residents studying advertising, communications, public relations, marketing, journalism or a related field
  • Female students studying technology or computing
  • Members of Dexter's St. Joseph Catholic Church
  • Graduating seniors of Pioneer High School; one scholarship requires students to have lettered in athletics, theater or music and held an outside job for at least 12 consecutive months
  • Students attending Eastern Michigan University or the University of Michigan who are Polish nationals with a valid visa or have parents from Poland
  • Men and women returning home from serving in Iraq and were honorably discharged within the past three years
  • Members of the Huron High School hockey team
  • Nursing students at EMU
  • Students with disabilities

A group of about eight area residents and community foundation trustees typically review the scholarship applications and recommend awardees.

A complete list of available scholarships is available here. For more information on how to apply, visit the community foundation's website.

Staff reporter Danielle Arndt covers K-12 education for Follow her on Twitter @DanielleArndt or email her at