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Women’s Civic League increases scholarship funds

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published February 10, 2016

ST. CLAIR SHORES — In its third year of granting scholarships to three St. Clair Shores graduating seniors, the Women’s Civic League of St. Clair Shores is upping its game. 

This year, the first-place scholarship winner will take home a $1,500 scholarship, second place will win $500, and third will win $50. Previously, all three winners had been awarded $500.

Also this year, the scholarship is open to any St. Clair Shores resident who is graduating from high school in 2016, whether they attend school in the city or not. That means those attending private school, Schools of Choice in other communities, or even those who are homeschooled are eligible.

“This is huge for us,” said Women’s Civic League President Sarah DeDonatis. 

She said the league is hoping there will be more competition between students, both boys and girls — the scholarship is not limited to females. With a higher prize amount, though, comes more work. This year, the essay accompanying the students’ applications will be between 1,000 and 1,250 words instead of 500 words, as it was previously.

This year’s essay question is “Identify an American historical figure who was prominent between the years 1700 and 1900. Why do you admire them, and what qualities of theirs do you want to emulate in your life?”

DeDonatis said the Women’s Civic League of St. Clair Shores wants to encourage students to learn about historical figures so that, by looking into the country’s history, they can be more informed of what to look for in a candidate running for office today.

“If you don’t understand history, you are bound to repeat it,” she said. “Looking at our city’s history ... there’s so much that people don’t know. 

“These students, they’re very focused on current events, but to go back to that 200-year block and see what life was like and what people had to fight through. ... What these people did was far and above what people (do) today.”

The applicants are considered by five or six judges who weigh the essay content 75 percent, grammar and spelling 15 percent, and the students’ volunteer service and record 10 percent. DeDonatis said only one member of the group receives the applications and redacts gender, name, school and other background information so that it is a blind judging. 

“We have no clue until we award (the scholarship) who it is or what school they go to,” she said. 

Applications are available at www.wclscs.com, and the deadline for applications to be submitted is April 8. The award can go to any post-graduate education for the seniors, be that a college, university, career technical institution, apprenticeship or other institution.

Mayor Kip Walby said that he appreciates the hard work of the Women’s Civic League, which raises money for the scholarships through events like the Guns ’n’ Hoses softball game and the annual Brunch with Santa. 

“Fifteen hundred (dollars), that’s a lot. That’s great,” he said. “The Women’s Civic League, we appreciate it. You do a lot of good things.”