Each year the Santa Clarita Valley Scholarship Foundation provides $250,000 in scholarships to graduating approximately 150 seniors throughout the William S. Hart Union High School District.
“We seem to be the best kept secret in the valley,” said SCV Scholarship Foundation Treasurer Terry Kanowsky who became involved with the organization after her youngest son graduated from Hart High School in 2008. “I think we are so unique… Very few communities have a quarter-million dollars to give to students to encourage them to go on to college.”
For more than 60 years, the non-profit foundation has given scholarships to deserving graduating seniors at the Hart District’s comprehensive and alternative high schools to fulfill its goal of keeping kids in school.
“We’ve grown to where we focus on 11 comprehensive high schools and alternative high schools… we give $150,000 from the Newhall Foundation and $150,000 from private donors and our own fundraisers,” Kanowsky said. “It’s grown a lot since its inception.”
The SCV Scholarship Foundation began with one generous couple, Gertrude and Walter Baughner, who used their family’s wealth to help children with school supplies and necessities to keep them in school.
In 1951, the Baughners formalized their community efforts and founded the William S. Hart Union High School District Scholarship and Loan Foundation with their friend Judge MacDougall.
Additional funds were given to the foundation each year until the organization separated from the Hart District in 1975 and became a 501(c)(3) non-profit in 1977.
“When this organization started we had three high schools and they gave out the Newhall Foundation Awards and no additional awards,” Kanowsky said.
Today, the non-profit is entirely run by volunteers and is supported by donations from the Henry Mayo Newhall Foundation, local businesses, community organizations, individual donations and fundraising efforts.
Scholarships given to high school seniors can range from $500 to $5,000 and are awarded based on a combination of factors that include GPA, personal achievement, financial need, educational goals and volunteer efforts.
“It’s a package deal,” Kanowsky said. “We have a lot of students who may not have the highest GPA but they started a business on their own or they had to work full time to support their family.”
The foundation also provides scholarships to students with targeted skills in areas like art and music.
“We literally cover the gamut,” Kanowsky said. “We encourage all students to apply.”
The only requirements for applicants are that they are a resident of the Santa Clarita Valley, attended a Hart District school for two years, are a graduating senior, have at least a 2.0 GPA, plan to continue their education, are in compliance with the district’s Student Rights and Responsibilities and submitted a 350-word essay.
Applications for the class of 2018 will go live online at www.scvsf.org Dec. 1, 2017. Scholarship winners will be announced at each school’s Senior Award Ceremonies held in May and June.
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