Marion and Peabody-Burns high school students who want to take college courses will benefit from a new $10,000 scholarship fund established with Butler Community College.
A philanthropist with Marion County ties, who wishes to remain anonymous, read an article about MHS students enrolled in the Certified Nurse Aide program through Butler and decided he wanted to help.
“This all really started when he read the article that ran in the Marion County Record about the CNA classes,” Butler of Marion Director Amy Kjellin said. “The following week I had a phone call from a gentleman saying he was thinking about sending $10,000, and I about fell off my chair — at community college rates, that will go a long way.”
The donor no longer lives in the county, but chose Marion and Peabody-Burns because of past connections with both communities, Kjellin said.
“He just wants to help kids better themselves,” Kjellin said. “What appealed to him was helping students to be more prepared when they leave high school to either continue their education or go on to work in a field where they would get more than minimum wage.”
High school students taking other college classes through Butler, such as college algebra, English composition, and psychology are eligible to apply for funds as well.
“It will be tremendously helpful. A lot of our students would like to take classes,” Peabody-Burns High School Principal Tim Robertson said. “We use the Butler program quite a bit. At least half our seniors will take English comp one and two through Butler. This will expand what we can do.”
High school students are not eligible for college financial aid, Kjellin said, so the fund’s purpose is to make classes affordable for them.
“We had one boy that came in who said he was going to have to drop his class because he couldn’t come up with the full tuition,” Marion High School Principal Tod Gordon said. “One kid went down to the bank and took out a loan. I want to be sure kids get the opportunity to take college classes.”
“We’re going to rely on the schools to make recommendations, because it’s not going to be available to everybody,” Kjellin said. Students should talk to their counselor or principal to see if they are eligible.
This is the only scholarship fund Butler has designated for helping high school students, Kjellin said.
Adults taking CNA classes through Butler of Marion, and who live in Marion County can receive support from the fund as well, Kjellin said.
If the fund is received well, Kjellin said the donor would consider another gift in the future.
“He was pretty clear he wanted us to use the money until it’s gone, and then maybe he could send some more,” Kjellin said. “I think he likes to be in the background knowing that he helped make something better for folks in Marion County.”