Ridge Memorial Scholarship Seeking Applicants with 'Character'

Scholarship funded by alumni in honor of late 1967 grad has been growing every year.

Ridge High School seniors planning for life after high school, who might not qualify for a traditional scholarship, could get a leg up in financing their future with a $8,500 grant being awarded by the Ridge Alumni Memorial Scholarship committee.

The amount of the grant, funded by donations from alumni, has been growing every year since it was created in 2007. The Class of '67 started the scholarship award to remember a classmate, John Peterson, who was killed in Vietnam.

The as demonstrated
during a graduating senior's career at Ridge High School, according to an announcement of the scholarship from AMS.

The deadline for applying is Feb. 25. Graduating Ridge seniors can learn more at the Ridge AMS website, by doing an  online search for "Ridge AMS," or by contacting Ridge High School guidance counselors.

Ridge AMS is unusual in several respects, said Jane Cullinan, Ridge Class of ’67, who chairs the Ridge AMS Board of Trustees.

First, this scholarship doesn't depend on grades or test scores; applicants just describe how they’ve demonstrated character during their tenure at Ridge.

Second, funds can be used for virtually any educational, vocational or personal growth expenses — meaning tuition, a gap year, a car to get to work, studio time, or something a graduating senior needs that Ridge AMS organizers haven’t yet imagined.

Cullinan described Peterson, for whom the scholarship was established, "Not a scholar, not a stand-out athlete, but a poster boy for character."

Finally, at $8,500, it’s an award can make a significant difference in a graduate's future. At RHS's last few "Awards Nights," Ridge AMS grant has grown every year, and  the Ridge AMS grant has been the largest awarded other than scholarships given to a specific college or university, Cullinan said.

Growth of the Ridge Alumni Memorial Scholarship has been made possible by donor generosity and careful management of funds, despite a difficult economy, according to the scholarship’s organizers.

“Everyone involved with Ridge AMS is proud that we’ve been able help five outstanding Ridge graduates, who have demonstrated resilience and character in the face of significant challenges,” Cullinan said. “These are truly remarkable kids, who are determined to build meaningful futures for themselves.

"It’s an honor to contribute to that, which loyal RHS alumni and other donors have been privileged to do, Cullinan said.

The timeline of the scholarship, with information from AMS, is:

  • 2007 — Ridge AMS launched, announcing a $1,000 grant    
  • 2008 — First grant, $2,500 to Alexandra Stamateris
  • 2009 — $4,000 to Caroline Bozzi
  • 2010 — $5,000 to Tayler Gallic
  • 2011 —
  • 2012 —
  • 2013 — $8,500 grant announced for a senior graduating with the Ridge Class of 2013.

Life after high school stretches the budgets of plenty of Ridge families, and storm recovery on top of the still-troubled economy haven’t helped, Cullinan said.

“Once again, in 2013, we're committed to making a meaningful contribution to a deserving senior's future. That’s the purpose of the Ridge Alumni Memorial Scholarship – honoring the past by supporting the future,” Cullinan added.

More information on the scholarship and application process also is on the Ridge High School page of the Bernards Board of Education website.

The Ridge website says information also is available on students' Naviance accounts. Deadline for applications is February 25, 2013.

Ridge AMS is funded entirely by donations, and administered in partnership with Bernards Township Education Foundation, according to Ridge AMS.

Ridge AMS contributions are tax-deductible, the foundation says. The Bernards Township Education Foundation is a not-for-profit organization focused on program development and process management for public education, community outreach, and leadership formation.


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