Bedford Women’s Club column: Scholarships help fulfill dreams
Friday, June 20, 2014
One of the many joys of membership in the Bedford Women’s Club is giving back to the community. While all of us enjoy the friendships made and fun activities we share, it’s really all about being part of something bigger than just ourselves.
In the past year alone, I’m happy to report that the Bedford Women’s Club has given funds to seven different charitable organizations that benefit our town’s residents.
The first day I joined the BWC, I knew I wanted to be part of their esteemed Scholarship Committee. Nancy Herper and Bobbe Fairman lead a terrific committee of very dedicated women who methodically and thoughtfully review the applications.
Throughout the process, the name, gender, address and other identifying information is stripped out, so it is completely anonymous and confidential. All of the applicants “come alive” as we read their personal reflection essays, look at their educational accomplishments and community activities, but there is nothing like meeting the eventual winners in person.
Equally important is the opportunity to see how our scholarship recipients are faring after they’ve been off to school. On May 15 of this year, we got a chance to see first-hand what an impact a scholarship can make when two former recipients joined us and shared their personal stories. I still get goose bumps thinking about it.
Alexandra Evans earned a BWC scholarship in 2011, and she has utilized the help at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, to pursue a degree in Environmental Science with a concentration in Geology. She has done so well that she is now planning on continuing, to attain her master’s degree with a focus on research in geochemistry.
She continues to enjoy playing the flute. In high school, she traveled to Washington to perform with the nation’s top young musicians.
Unbeknownst to members of the scholarship committee, Alexandra’s brother Devereux applied for the scholarship in 2013, and also earned it.
An Eagle Scout, Devereux had demonstrated planning and leadership skills when he led a team to create a walking path with picnic tables near the parking lot of St. Elizabeth Seton. Devereux is now a student at the UNH Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics, and he believes it’s a perfect fit for him. He hopes to pursue a graduate program offering a joint law degree and business.
In his remarks to members of the BWC at our May luncheon meeting, Devereux told us that the scholarship helped to pay for a laptop and books. But he also made the point that “scholarship programs like this give people the hope they need so they can pursue their dreams.”
I couldn’t agree more. My family would have never been able to afford college for me without the help of scholarships. I was the first person in my family ever to attend and graduate college, so it was a real stretch and a big dream.
Devereux’s powerful statement made me realize our efforts and our investment go much further than anyone could ever guess.
Indeed, if what we do gives people the courage to envision a great education, a better future for themselves, and a chance to pursue their dreams, then we must be doing something right and very worthwhile.
For members of the BWC, the opportunity to give back, to reward these young neighbors for their hard work and scholastic achievement, and to see them flourish is truly a great honor and experience.
Please encourage someone with a dream to apply for the Bedford Women’s Club scholarship program next year.
We offer assistance based on academic merit and leadership to both traditional and non-traditional students.
For more information, contact Bedford Women’s Club Co-President Bobbe Fairman at rpfairman@ comcast.net or go to www.bedfordwomensclub.org.