Scholarship candidates wanted

Published 9:23 pm Tuesday, March 18, 2014

High-school seniors who’ve been active in sports might want to pick up an Optimist Club scholarship application: It may just mean $1,500 to help start a college career.

Four $1,500 scholarships are available to local seniors: two Youth Appreciation scholarships; another scholarship given in memory of Optimist Club and community contributor Earl Mitchell; and a fourth, in honor of Optimist Club Board of Directors member Linley Gibbs, for his work and continuing contributions to the community, according to Patty Peebles, Optimist Club of Washington scholarship director.

The scholarship is open to any high-school senior in the area, whether they are enrolled in a public school, private school or are homeschooled.

“We try to keep the money local — mostly within the Beaufort County area,” Peebles said.

While the judges may not be local, in order to keep the process impartial, what matters to them across the board is participation in local activities, according to Peebles.

“When the applications are reviewed, the things we look at are extracurricular activities, volunteer work they’ve done and, of course, we look at grammar and neatness and that kind of stuff too,” Peebles laughed.

The Optimist Club is founded on the principal of serving the children of the community with various programs and community service projects. One of its local big draws is recreational soccer, with leagues pulling in over 200 participants in spring and over 600 each fall.

But Peebles said the scholarship program is really just a way to support children in the community who want to tackle a higher level of education after high school.

Students must have a 2.5 GPA or higher to apply and part of the application involves writing an essay about the Optimist Creed, which is included in the application, and what it means to the applicant.

Scholarship applications are available at any Beaufort County Schools high school, or can be downloaded from by following the link under “Student Programs” in the navigation bar. Applications can be sent to P.O. Box 1174, Washington, NC 27889 and must be postmarked by April 21.