Foundation challenges community to match $100K

An in-state college education costs, on average, $18,943 for one year, and the average yearly cost of a four-year private college is $42,419 according to a recent study by the College Board. Yet there may be a way to alleviate some of the cost for CHS students.

After approaching an anonymous donor, the Carmel High School Foundation started a dollar-for-dollar matching donation challenge up to $100,000 that could double the yearly scholarship endowment, possibly increasing the fund by $200,000 and making the total permanent scholarship fund approximately $400,000.

However, the challenge will only last through Dec. 31.

Remarkably, despite the exponential growth of the cost of college, the amount awarded in scholarships from the CHSF has not changed drastically since 1960.

“The fact is that we have been giving $1,000 scholarships since about 1960,” scholarship chairman Dale DePalatis notes. “Back in 1960, when you gave a student a $1,000 scholarship that might pay for a year of college. It was something significant. Now $1,000 will buy a couple of [chemistry] books.”

In recent years, 60 students typically have applied for the scholarship, 25 have been interviewed by the CHSF committee, and a minimum of 20 were awarded between $150 and $1,300 out of the $10,000 available per school year.

Yet if the challenge’s goal is met, the total amount of money available for every class could be doubled, and more students would receive larger scholarships to put towards their education.

DePalatis sympathizes with students who must make decisions regarding their education based on their financial situations, though the scholarship is not solely need-based.

Although need is considered, it is only one of several aspects considered by the CHSF committee in a holistic evaluation, which specifically looks at a student’s involvement at CHS through academics, sports, music, community service, etc. In the chairman’s words, it is a “contribution to CHS scholarship.”

In addition to increasing the number and amount of scholarships given, it is DePalatis’ eventual goal to expand the one-time grant to a four-year scholarship.

“[There are] all these great kids who have all these great accomplishments,” DePalatis expresses. “We would love to have more money to spread it around…. My dream, my goal is to raise that kind of money, and I think that is possible.”

DePalatis hopes that this donation challenge will encourage an altruistic culture in the community to help students both now and in the future.

To learn how to donate, visit CarmelHighSchoolFoundation.org.
-Delaney King