Wednesday January 06, 2010
By SEAN ELY, Argus-Press Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 6, 2010 9:50 AM EST
BYRON - Megan VanWoert is a back-to-back winner of two $500 Mason scholarships, an honor she's not just proud of but unbelievably thankful for.
“The money went toward my tuition,” said the Michigan State University senior, who is majoring in nursing. “It made school a lot more affordable. I pay tuition through student loans.”
The Masons of Byron are accepting applications for the next round of scholarships, with between three and five to be awarded later this year.
Forms can be picked up at the Byron High School counselors' office and are due by Feb. 12. Any high school graduating seniors, current college students or those from Byron thinking of going back to school, may apply for the scholarship.
A June golf outing helped raise more money than expected, allowing the Masons to potentially hand out two additional awards.
“We're looking at ACT/SAT scores, students' grade point averages and their extracurricular activities. We also ask for letters of recommendation,” said Larry Judson, scholarship chairperson and the Masons' senior warden.
The scholarship winnings can be used to the student's liking, such as for books, tuition or school supplies.
Judson said the scholarship has been available for more years than he can even count.
“It's been wonderful, especially for those, like Megan (VanWoert) who won it more than one year,” he said. “It's unique because it's not just for the graduating seniors, like many scholarships, but someone in the Byron community who intends on going back to school.”
Top applicants who don't receive the scholarship will also be considered in the Donald Voorhies Scholarship Fund - started by Judson's great-uncle.
The scholarship gives between $20,000-$50,0000 a year to students, available for Shiawassee and Genessee County residents. The due date is March 31 and applications can also be obtained at the Byron High School Counselors Office.
“The Masons do so much for the community, such as breakfast with Santa, bringing the entire community together from little kids to the elderly,” VanWoert said. “If you're new to the community, they welcome you in. This all just ties right in. It's great.”