By Mike LaBella
---- — HAVERHILL — With more and more students at Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School going on to college or other post-secondary training, staff members recently came up with a way to help a few deserving students each year pay their way.
They raised money to launch a new scholarship fund, which will be awarded for the first time next spring.
“I’m thrilled at the amount we were able to raise for our students,” Superintendent William DeRosa said about the $22,892 that was raised. “I can’t thank our staff members enough. They worked hard over several months during a busy time of year to make this happen. We also appreciate the generous support of the many local businesses who advertised with us. This was a real community effort which will benefit our students for years to come.”
DeRosa said the number of students who pursue higher education has increased dramatically at Whittier since the school opened 40 years ago.
Today, 70 percent of the school’s graduates go on to college or post-secondary training, compared to about 20 percent who pursued higher education from the Class of 1974, he said.
As part of Whittier’s 40th Anniversary celebration, staff members on the Anniversary Committee sold ads and hosted a party to raise money for college scholarships to be awarded to graduating seniors. They netted a total of $22,892 from the event, held for staff and former staff at DiBurro’s on Oct. 10, and from advertisers who were featured in Whittier’s 40th Anniversary Book. The 64-page publication was designed and printed by the school’s Design & Visual and Graphics Departments.
Two $1,500 scholarships will be awarded each year, starting in May, 2014, to a male and female senior pursuing higher education. An essay will be required of applicants and the award will be based on academic grades, the 40th Anniversary Committee decided.
Plans are being discussed to host a Scholarship Dinner each year along with other events to keep the fund growing. Seniors will be able to apply for the new scholarships through the Guidance Department once the criteria are finalized, DeRosa said.
The 40th Anniversary party, which was attended by more than 160 people, grossed $12,225 minus expenses of $7,498. The 40th Anniversary Ad Book, which featured a story about the history of Whittier Tech and hundreds of photographs from four decades of Whittier yearbooks, netted $14,900. Additional donations totaling $3,265 were also collected.