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Colleges from Kentucky and across the country are willing to invest major bucks in the Class of 2012 from Bullitt County Public Schools.
The added incentive of funds through the Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES) means seniors who made the most out of their high school experience by studying hard and making good grades have even more money already set aside for college.
The total amount of scholarship money awarded to 2012 graduating seniors from Bullitt Central, Bullitt East and North Bullitt High Schools was $8,504,938. Factor in $1,185,185 in KEES for a grand total of $9,690,122.
That figure is down $638,717 from 2011 when graduating seniors earned $9,143,655 (without KEES).
The Total number of 2012 seniors earning scholarships are 240 from Bullitt Central, 71 from Bullitt East and 49 from North Bullitt.
In 2011, there were 52 Bullitt Central students who earned scholarships, 78 from Bullitt East and 28 from North Bullitt.
“Academic and athletic scholarships provide tremendous resources for students who work hard and are informed of the opportunities,” according to Bullitt County Public School Superintendent Keith Davis. “It is one important measure of the success of school guidance programs and overall leadership; our high schools essentially helped students bring $9 million in income to Bullitt County families. I am very proud of the hard work of our students who went after these scholarships.”
Bullitt Central Principal Christy Coulter said AmeriCorps Kentucky College Coach Rachelle Elam was funded by a grant.
“She provided students tremendous support and focused attention on finding, completing, and following up on scholarships throughout the school year,” Coulter said. “Her extra attention provided a shot in the arm to this process and her work ethic is a major factor in the scholarship increase at Bullitt Central High School.”
Bullitt Central senior counselor Shannon Sellinger said, “We as a team work very hard to ensure that all students know the opportunities available to them.”
“We share information through announcements, enews, One Call and going into classrooms,” she continued. “We had the benefit this year of having additional help with our college coach, Rachelle Elam, who was able to meet one on one with many of our students. I am very proud of the class of 2012 for taking the initiative to fill out the scholarship applications. As a result, many students that may not have gotten scholarships were able to.”
Bullitt East and North Bullitt guidance counselors are assigned students by alphabetical breakdown. Bullitt East counselor Crystal Barr said a senior newsletter is distributed each month.
“The newsletter contains info on all scholarships on which we receive information, plus lots of other relevant information for seniors,” she explained. “We also put information on the daily announcements when new scholarships come in.”
North Bullitt counselor Connie Hatfield works with junior and senior level students who last names begin with P-Z.
“We post all scholarships on our counselor’s Facebook page, mention them to students when we see and/or meet with them and announce them as well,” she said.
Forrest Miller earned his diploma from North Bullitt May 19, 2012 during commencement ceremonies at Freedom Hall.
By then, he already knew exactly where he was headed to college and who would be paying for it...a Presidential Scholarship by the University of Kentucky.
“In life, everything is so much more valuable and appreciated when you, yourself, worked diligently to earn it,” Forrest said. “The scholarships I earned are more than just awards; they are reminders to myself that hard work and persistence truly pay off.”
Although it was his initiative in applying and pursuing the opportunity, Forrest demonstrated modesty about earning the funds.
“In a way, it is very humbling,” he said. “As human beings, we are all shaped and molded by the people surrounding us. I have been blessed to have been a part of such a wonderful family at North Bullitt High School. Without the guidance and mentoring from the school staff, I very well might not have been the young man I am today. I owe them all a huge debt of gratitude.”
KEES money, funded by the state lottery, begins at $125 a year for students with a minimum grade point average of 2.5. If the student maintains that GPA for four years, he or she will have built up $500 additional funds for college.
The higher the GPA, the more money earned for college. A GPA of 3.0 garners $250 a year. A GPA of 3.4 equals $350 s year. A GPA of 3.75 nets $437 a year. A perfect 4.0 is $500 a year. Thus, students can earn up to $2,000 per year extra for college in KEES money.
KEES money is renewable with a 3.0 GPA and can be applied to both college and technical schools.
A portion of the reported scholarships are from the KEES program, a state funded merit scholarship program. For more information, Google KEES.
Graduating seniors from Bullitt Central, Bullitt East and North Bullitt High Schools were awarded a cumulative scholarship total exceeding $9 million. Here is a look at scholarships before and after KEES. The schools are asked to report this data to the superintendent using common instruction and using a common template,
Bullitt Central scholarships - $3,382,974 + $253,126 in KEES = $3,636,100.
Bullitt Central had a significant scholarship increase of $872,125.28 from the 2010-2011 school year.
Many seniors were offered multiple scholarships. BC senior Kylee Creason can attend Lyndsey Wilson College thanks to being selected a Governor’s Scholar. Her four year tuition of $385,000 is completely covered.
Kylee was also awarded scholarships from Georgetown College ($12,000 a year renewable for four years for a grand total of $48,000); Bellarmine University ($18,400 renewable); a Bellarmine Governor’s Scholars bonus ($1,500 renewable); Campbellsville University ($12,000 and a bonus of $1,500 both renewable); Brescia College ($13,000 renewable) and Union College ($17,000 renewable).
Classmate Charles Bledsoe will attend Bellarmine University on a Monsignor Scholarship of $27,800 renewable for four years meaning his entire tuition of $113,200 is covered. Charles can also apply a retired teacher’s scholarship of $2,000 and a Bellarmine Trustee Scholarship of $1,000.
Bullitt East scholarships - $3,100,103 + $299,102 in KEES = $3,399,205.
Even with over $3.3 million in scholarships, Bullitt East was down $986,768 from last school year.
BE senior Brett Hatfield is bound for the University of Kentucky engineering program and has a full four year ride of $9,676 annually renewable for a total of $38,704.
Brett also received a UK engineering scholarship for $3,000 a year renewable to $12,000. Add another $500 for being Valedictorian of the Class of 2012 and he gets over $60,000 to study at UK.
Other scholarship opportunities for Brett included Forcht Bank Sportsmanship Regional ($200); Western Kentucky University Award of Excellence ($11,872 renewable); Centre College ($20,500 renewable); and Transylvania University Trustee’s $16,500 renewable).
Fellow graduate Molly Karrer will enroll at Bellarmine University where she will apply $108,000 in scholarships to complete her college education.
North Bullitt scholarships - $2,021,861 + $632,956 in KEES = $2,654,817.
North Bullitt seniors also earned $524,075 less scholarship money compared to the 2010-2011 school year. Students at all high schools are encouraged to apply for scholarships but not all of them take advantage of the opportunity.
NB senior Alexa Hughes is undecided about college choice but she does have financial incentive from the following: Marrietta Tuition at $30,000.00 annually renewable up to $120,000; University of Kentucky KEES at $1,424.00 a year renewable to $5,696.00 or UK’s William C. Parker scholarship at $10,000.00 a year renewable to $40,000.00.
Other NB graduates such as River Mills and Dakota Pike earned money through the U.S. Army GI Bill. River was awarded $66,528 (his college is undecided) while Dakota was awarded $69,828 to apply to full tuition and fees at the University of Louisville. The students are two of many examples in which hard work and consistently good grades in school do pay.
Bullitt County Public Schools has nearly 13,000 students in grades kindergarten through 12. There are 25 school facilities, a certified staff of over 850 and a classified staff of over 850 working every school day to make the district the leader in educational excellence.