Giving Matters: Scholarship funds make college more accessible

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Hayley Steves Community Foundation of Greenville
Hayley Steves is the recipient of the Alice Watkins scholarship. Photo provided

Community Foundation of GreenvilleOne time-honored way to promote a brighter future is by making it easier for hardworking young people to further their education. Several individuals, families, and organizations have created endowments through the Community Foundation of Greenville that disburse scholarship funds according to guidelines set up by the donors. They’ve trusted CFG to manage the investment of these funds to be certain their gifts continue to support deserving students for years to come.

Alice Watkins Senter’s family established a scholarship in her name to honor this poet, mother, and pastor’s wife whose life was shortened by a tragic illness. The first member of her family to attend college, Watkins blossomed as a student at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. Her poetry was published in the school journal, and she wrote the lyrics to the senior class song. In 1949, she moved with her family to Greenville, where three of her four children graduated from Wade Hampton High School. To celebrate her most productive and happiest times, each year the Senter family awards a scholarship to a Wade Hampton High School student with a love of English literature and poetry.

This year’s recipient is Hayley Steves, a junior marshal, cross country participant, and fiction editor of the Fine Arts Center’s Crashtest Magazine. Steves, who earned a GPA of 5.34, said she heard about the Alice Watkins Scholarship from multiple sources, including friends and teachers; it seemed tailor-made for someone with her interests.

“I’ve always loved reading, and I wanted to write my own stories.”

“I’ve always loved reading, and I wanted to write my own stories,” Steves said. “I started going to the Fine Arts Center for creative writing my sophomore year, and my love for writing has flourished even more since. I have always planned to major in creative writing or English with a concentration in creative writing, and so this scholarship really fit with what I wanted to do.”

The rising cost of tuition

Citing the rising cost of tuition outpacing the inflation rate, and the necessity of a degree to get a well-paying job, Steves said the scholarship will help her pay for college without incurring a burden of debt that would follow her after graduation. She’s not certain of her post-graduation plans, but says they may include graduate school.

“I do know that I would like to use the education I receive to help other people, however that may be. I’m excited to see where the future will take me!” she said.

Other scholarships administered by CFG include two that promote higher education for Greenville County firefighters and their family members, and one that provides financial assistance for the educational advancement of Greenville County Library staff. Others target economically disadvantaged students and those who plan to enlist in the U.S. Navy. There’s even an Environmental Education Grant designated for a resident of Bermuda to study ecology or a related field to promote conservation of Bermuda’s environment. All serve the common purpose of making higher education more attainable for selected students.

“Providing a scholarship opens the door for economic mobility and personal fulfillment unlike any other charitable gift,” said CFG President Bob Morris. “For many donors it is a way to highlight the impact a special teacher had on their lives by providing an opportunity to earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, especially in cases where a student is the first family member to attend college. In the case ofAlice Watkins it was a gratifying way to remember a mother who was inspired as a student and became a teacher devoted to writing, reciting, and creating.”

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