Scholarship Scramble for Out-of-District Students


Jane Conti

Nonnewaug students pose after receiving Dollar for Scholar scholarships at Nonnewaug’s scholarship night.

Samantha Conti, Editor-in-Chief

WOODBURY — With the second largest leading cause for debt in America being student loans, an estimated 43.1 million Americans face the consequences of getting a college degree — something American society deems as a critical step towards one’s future. 

The cost of college is overwhelming for the majority of students. Whether their parents are helping out or they are on their own, college’s expenses are a huge task to take on. 

So with college being all about the money, scholarships are an extremely important ordeal. 

“College is expensive,” said Kathy Green, the College and Career Resource Center counselor. “The return on investment, meaning the amount of time students put into a scholarship application versus the potential scholarship, has the opportunity to be pretty significant. Any ability to lessen the cost burden is a worthwhile effort.”

At Nonnewaug High School, seniors are given the opportunity to search for scholarships throughout the Region 14 area — but the trouble arises for out-of-district students when the requirements for the scholarships include “must be a Woodbury or Bethlehem resident.”

With Nonnewaug being an agricultural school, the students who live outside of Region 14’s tight walls are left to fend for themselves. 

“Watertown didn’t do the best job of informing me on any of them,” said Allysa Calabrese, a Nonnewaug senior ag student. “I did have to contact Watertown High School in order to get them. Some of them said you had to be a Watertown student; others just said Watertown resident.”

Out-of-district kids are expected to be proactive and search for scholarships within their area they are eligible for. 

“Out-of-district students should call their home district to learn about their local scholarship opportunities,” said Green. “In addition, I post any scholarships that are shared with me by community organizations in town and in our general vicinity. Ultimately, it is the student’s responsibility to seek out opportunities.”

Despite having to look up scholarships by themselves, Nonnewaug students weren’t all completely on their own.

“Mrs. [Lauren] Buchta helped me with a lot of the Watertown ones,” Calabrese said of her guidance counselor. “Watertown also helped contact guidance counselors from Watertown to help me get the information.”

Nonnewaug’s counseling staff tries their best to set up all students fairly by helping them get access to scholarships. 

“I have called other districts with our students to assist them,” Green said. “The past couple of years I have also picked up the scholarships for Region 15 students.” 

Despite all this, the majority of the scholarships offered through Region 14 required students to be a Woodbury or Bethlehem student, so the out-of-district students weren’t eligible for a lot. 

“I think there were a lot of scholarships I wasn’t eligible for,” said Calabrese, “so it was a little harder.”

Calabrese was awarded two scholarships on Nonnewaug’s scholarship night, one from Region 14 — the Bethlehem Fair scholarship — and one from Watertown — the Water-Oak Women’s scholarship. In the end, out-of-district students were given the opportunity to be awarded scholarships — maybe just not as many.