Scholarships rewarding part of Township Day
By MEG HUELSMAN Courier-Post Staff June 7, 2008

GLOUCESTER TWP. The annual Gloucester Township Day celebration is more than just a fun festival for residents interested in riding the carnival rides, playing games and watching the annual fireworks display at dusk.

For dozens of high school seniors, it's an opportunity to shine while being recognized for their ongoing efforts.

This year, 50 students will accept $1,000 scholarship awards from the Gloucester Township Day Scholarship Committee.

The committee started the tradition by distributing eight $500 scholarships in 1986.

Now, 22 years later, the committee has distributed 889 scholarships totaling $739,200, Hollinshead said. This year, the scholarships total $50,000, said Richard Hollinshead, the committee's treasurer and Rowan University professor, and will benefit 50 township students who meet the requirements.

"The thing we're pleased with is that it's a very inclusive scholarship," Hollinshead said. "Many kids get scholarship because they are at the top of their classes, but our scholarship is based on relatively reasonable criteria so lots of different kids can benefit."

All high school students who reside in the township are eligible to apply for the award, no matter if they attend private or public institutions. Students must also score 1200 on the SAT, have a 2.5 grade-point average and graduate in the top half their class.

This year, 401 students met the criteria and applied.

Instead of determining which students are "most deserving," each applicant is given a number, which is placed on a ping-pong ball and tossed into a lottery.

"This way, it's fair," Hollinshead said. "We would like to give all the students a scholarship, but since we can't, this is the most fair. It's exciting because it involves a little bit of luck."

In addition to the award ceremony, the event features the best of Gloucester Township, Mayor Cindy Rau-Hatton said.

"It's really a fun, fun day, and we want everyone to come," she said. "It's really great because everyone comes out and we celebrate our township."

For more information about Gloucester Township Day, visit the township Web site at www.glotwp.com