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Students get an 'opportunity' with new HCC scholarships

November 21, 2004

wandaw@herald-mail.com

April Tritsch breathed a big sigh of relief after learning she had received an $800 scholarship from Hagerstown Community College's Opportunity Fund.

"I was excited and relieved at the same time, just knowing that someone was there to help me," said Tritsch, 17, an HCC freshman and 2003 graduate of Williamsport High School.

Tritsch, who also juggles two part-time jobs, said the money came at a challenging time for her family.

"My dad was laid off from his job in the spring," said Tritsch, who has dreamed of being a teacher all of her life.

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"Teachers are great role models who prepare kids for the future," she said.

The elementary education major is one of 40 students who has received a total of $28,300 in scholarships from HCC's new Opportunity Fund. The first of its kind in the state, college President Guy Altieri created the scholarship following HCC's fall tuition increase.

The fund's goal is to offset any increased financial demands on students who don't always qualify for traditional financial aid, said Donna Rudy, HCC's dean of student affairs.

Available to full- and part-time students, scholarships range from $400 to $800, and recipients aren't selected based on financial need alone. Scholarship recipients are selected following an individual case-by-case review of their essay applications by members of the Opportunity Fund Scholarship Committee, Rudy said.

Students are judged on their leadership ability, financial need, and academic and community accomplishments.

"We try and determine their level of motivation and a student's clarity and commitment to identifying their goals," Rudy said.

Freshman Richard Troxell said his $800 scholarship will allow his parents to put more money aside for his younger sister, who will be entering college in a few years.

"I'm always looking for ways to ease the burden on my parents," said Troxell, 18.

Troxell, a soccer player and Williamsport High School graduate, plans to pursue a career in sports medicine.

"Sports has always played big part in my life," Troxell said. "It's something I'll love doing."

Rudy and Altieri described this year's pool of applicants as talented and determined individuals from diverse backgrounds committed to making a better life for themselves and the communities where they live.

Opportunity Fund scholarships are renewable for a second year for full-time students who maintain a 2.5 grade-point average, Rudy said.

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