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Local News: A new perspective on back to school (8/4/22)



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As a former educator, it’s a weird feeling not getting ready for back to school. Until this year, I spent my career as an elementary teacher, teaching for over 19 years in several different districts across Central Indiana, including here in Putnam County.

Although I miss the hustle and bustle of setting up my classroom, getting lesson plans prepared and awaiting the joy of seeing the smiles on students’ faces as they arrive for the first day of school, I am also excited about the impact we have on students through our work at the Putnam County Community Foundation.

It’s been a busy season at the Community Foundation as scholarships have been awarded to students in Putnam County. The Community Foundation administers 42 funds that award scholarships. Of these Foundation-administered funds, 65 individual scholarship awards were given for approximately $143,000 this year.

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Several students have shared their gratitude with me, stating that receiving a scholarship relieves some stress and allows them to focus on other important aspects of school life. As scholarship recipients have visited our office this summer, I have enjoyed my conversations with them, learning just how significantly a scholarship can impact their lives. For some, a scholarship can open the door to a more prestigious school; it can mean the possibility of graduating debt-free; it can alleviate the pressure of balancing school and work; and it can even allow a student to continue to grad school.

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One of the best parts of administering these scholarships is the knowledge that they are funded entirely by the support of our neighbors and friends right here in our community. There were times as a teacher I was overwhelmed with appreciation for the community support offered to schools. While I taught at North Putnam Schools, many community members and organizations donated student supplies, backpacks, coats, shoes and clothes; the list is endless. Other donations were for the staff, including classroom supplies, gift cards and treats to brighten our day.

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While it was so special to be on the receiving end of that generosity, I feel especially honored to now be a part of giving back.

You can join us by making a donation to one of the many scholarship funds at the Community Foundation, or you can encourage the students in your life to apply for a scholarship during the upcoming school year. Either way, I hope you’ll join us in making a difference for the young adults in our community.

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