University City Community Empowers UCHS Seniors with $70,000 in Scholarships
A college degree or trade school certification paves the way for countless opportunities. However, the steep cost of tuition often acts as a barrier, shutting the door on these prospects.
The University City community, comprising remarkable organizations and dedicated citizens, is well aware of this conundrum. On Wednesday, May 8, graduating seniors from University City High School received 47 scholarships totaling nearly $70,000. These scholarships were generously provided by local organizations, individuals, and several University City High School graduates and parents of graduates.
These scholarships not only celebrate the students' outstanding achievements but also alleviate the financial burden faced by District students pursuing higher education. Superintendent Dr. Sharonica L. Hardin-Bartley expressed, "It truly takes a village. These scholarships not only bring life-changing opportunities, but also provide much-needed relief to students, parents, and caregivers who have worked tirelessly to reach this exciting phase in their lives, all while grappling with the concern of affording the next big step. The generosity of our scholarship donors truly embodies the caring and special community that exists in University City."
During the annual invitation-only Scholarship Night at the high school auditorium, the UCHS seniors were filled with anticipation as they awaited the announcement of their scholarships. Each student's name was called, and they took the stage to receive their scholarship, posing for photos with the donor or sponsor of the award. The scholarships acknowledged excellence in academics, extensive community service, athletic prowess, scholarly achievements, and more. The evening was arranged by the University City High School Counseling Office and was hosted by Lead Counselor Kimberly Merrill.
The scholarships ranged in value from $300 to $20,000, with the latter being a significant contribution from the Parkview Gardens neighborhood. Many students were fortunate enough to receive multiple awards.
Among the recipients, six students were awarded annual scholarships from the Baglan family of University City. Kathy Baglan and Julie Baglan Mai, both University City High School graduates who pursued careers in medicine at Mercy Hospital St. Louis, presented two $5,000 scholarships to female students aspiring to study medicine or health sciences. In addition, Nancy Baglan, mom of Kathy and Julie, donated $10,000 in scholarships in memory of her husband, Bob, to support graduating scholar-athletes.
Furthermore, five students were awarded $5,000 in scholarships donated by Orthopedist Dr. Muyibat Adelani. The Kiwanis Club of University City, in collaboration with the University City High School Key Club, granted three $1,000 scholarships. Additionally, graduate groups such as Black & Gold Alumni United and the UCHS Class of 1987 donated $2,250 in scholarships. Former SDUC Superintendent Dr. Joylin Pruitt contributed $2,000 in scholarships through Man of Valor, Inc., in memory of her grandson, Taylor Simpson. Three students received the Rory Ellinger Public Service Award, a $3,000 scholarship named in honor of Rory Ellinger, a former Missouri lawmaker and School District of University Board of Education member.
In addition to financial scholarships, Man of Valor, Inc. generously provided a dozen trunks filled with dorm necessities and other essentials for students embarking on their college journeys.
One particularly poignant moment occurred when the Carter-Foley and Pointer families awarded a $300 scholarship in memory of Darius Pointer, a 2022 University City High School graduate who tragically lost his life to gun violence last year. This special recognition was presented to Michael Simmons, founder of the organization Students Against Gun Violence, who will be attending Morehouse College in Atlanta.
Collectively, groups and individuals contributed a remarkable total of $69,050 towards these scholarships. If you are interested in supporting future University City High School graduates, contact Debbie Chase at firstname.lastname@example.org.