Petaluma Educational Foundation Scholarship Reception

When our family received an invitation to attend the Petaluma Educational Foundation 2010 Scholarship Reception, we were certainly pleased because it meant that our daughter, Valerie, had been selected to receive one of the scholarships.

However, I really didn’t have any expectations about the amount of money that a PEF scholarship could mean to her. I was just happy to get the news that she had been awarded anything based on the application she submitted. Even if she got a small award, it would still reduce her student loans for the first year.

So when we arrived at the Sheraton on Sunday for the award reception I was shocked when I opened the program. There were over 250 awards to be given out that day. The program had long lists of names of students followed by amounts such as $500, $1,000, and $1,500.

Given my skeptical nature, I still had my doubts that each of these kids was receiving the amount next to their name. I was thinking to myself, “Perhaps the students listed under each donor organization are all the nominees, and they are only going to choose one out of the list to actually receive the money.”

But it is with much appreciation to PEF that I can say that I was wrong. The amount listed by each name was in fact the scholarship amount that the student would be receiving.

And here’s the amazing part, the total amount of scholarship money that was distributed by PEF on Sunday was $194,300. That is an astounding amount of financial support that our community gives to these motivated high school seniors.

Where did this money come from? In this economy, is PEF spinning gold from straw to be able to award almost $200,000 in scholarships in a town that only has a population of 50,000?

No, there isn’t any magic involved. It is because of generous families who created a memorial fund to honor a loved one who has passed. Or children who want to continue their parents’ legacy so they started a scholarship fund. Or businesses who see the value of encouraging students in a specific area of study such as nursing or veterinary sciences, so they give. Or service organizations such as Rotary, Kiwanis and Masons that can always be counted on for a donation to encourage the best and brightest in our community. The list goes on and on…

Thank you to PEF for the huge amount of work that goes into administering, organizing and hosting these awards for 21 years.

And a personal thank you; my daughter left with a generous award to put towards her college expenses.

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