County seniors rack up $5.6 million in scholarships

August 12, 1997


Staff Writer

A little more than $5.6 million in scholarships were awarded to Washington County high school seniors this year, and the news was particularly good at Williamsport High School, which received a record number of awards.

Williamsport by far received the largest chunk of the money, raking in a total of $2.4 million for its students, according to Washington County Board of Education records.

North Hagerstown followed with $1.2 million, according to school records.

The rest of the schools and their scholarships were:

* Boonsboro High School, $586,950.

* Smithsburg High School, $542,088.

* Clear Spring High School, $514,379.

* South Hagerstown High School, $175,032.


* Hancock High School, $97,210.

* Career Studies Center, $34,257.

School officials said it is not fair to compare the money awarded to the different schools because a number of factors unrelated to academics affect scholarships.

Some of the scholarships are awarded to specific schools every other year, which could keep numbers at a school low, said Pat Swisher of the office of pupil personnel and guidance services.

Enrollment differences also could affect the number of scholarships, Swisher said.

South Hagerstown High School, for instance, graduated 154 seniors this year, the smallest ever, said Principal Richard L. Martin. Martin said there also were no students at South Hagerstown who were interested in military scholarships, which can amount to several hundred thousand dollars.

If two students at a school receive military scholarships "you're at a half million already," Martin said.

But Michael Harp said there's more to it than that. Harp, a Williamsport High School student who received a $60,000 Gettysburg College Award this year, said the school that competes the most for the scholarships is the one that gets the highest number of awards.

Williamsport's guidance counselors are very knowledgeable about how the scholarships work, Harp said.

Susan Mayhugh, the guidance secretary at Williamsport, said she publishes a montly newsletter for students explaining available scholarships. If information about a new scholarship is receieved between newsletters, students are briefed about it during morning announcements at the school, Mayhugh said.

"They really look for the scholarships and make them available to us," said Harp, who wants to become an attorney.

"Our kids are nudged more, and their notified more," said Williamsport Principal James H. Hardin.

Besides the Gettysburg award, Harp received $183,350 in other scholarships and awards. Much of the money had to be returned once Harp narrowed his choice to Gettysburg.

The awards ranged from $50 to $250,000. North Hagerstown senior Jason Karap received a $250,000 United States Naval Academy Scholarship and Williamsport senior Melissa Barrett received $250,000 from West Point.

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