In the early stages of organization, DHS Alumni Association initially began giving a scholarship award in 2006. It was available to all Lakeside seniors. The first one given was to Emily Nicholson of Glen Elder, a graduate of the class of 2006. While the group was busy getting organized and planning a more meaningful alumni reunion in 2007, they also discussed the scholarship. After many discussions and ideas, a better vision of what the group wanted came into view. Fundraising began and a formal application was designed and was available to graduating seniors from Lakeside that had an eligible relative. It was decided that eligible relatives were limited to parents, grandparents, grandparents, great grandparents, aunts and uncles that were graduates of Downs High School. In addition to having a relative that was a DHS alumnus, the group also desired to have the recipient attend the reunion with their family for recognition and presentation of the award.
The scholarship was being awarded on the basis of academic merit and good citizenship as described by the applicants. They were asked to write a brief personal history including their activities, both in and out of school and any community service they had participated in. The students were also asked to give a description of college plans, major area of study and what they had done to prepare for this endeavor. This also included future plans for after completing their education. Finally they were asked to explain in their own words, why they believed they deserved this scholarship. It quickly became apparent to the judges that we needed to add something that would make it easier to find the one that stood out from the rest. In 2010, the applicants were asked to write a one page essay titled, ‘What Downs Means to Me’.
In January 2011, the association was contacted by the children of Lawrence and Anna Streit, who were all graduates of DHS. They had decided to commemorate their parents by awarding DHSAA, Inc. a yearly grant to be used as a scholarship, either combined with or separate of the current scholarship. It was decided by the group to do 2 separate scholarships, based on the current criteria. Once again, the students forced us to make some changes and a guideline to help the judges in the decision making process was adopted at the July 2011 reunion. The 2012 graduates were asked to write a different essay for each application they made for the scholarship, with the second topic being ‘How has my family background affected the way I see the world.’
The amount of each scholarship has been determined by fundraising and donations that have been designated for scholarship awards and each year has been different in the amount that was given. Fundraisers geared specifically for the scholarship fund is the Root Beer Floats that are served each year after the program at the alumni reunion and the raffle. In years past, baskets full of goodies have been raffled off to the lucky ticket holder at the reunion as well. This year, the raffle will be for a DHS T Shirt Quilt made by Heidi Brush. Brush used various purple and gold DHS Alumni Assoc. t-shirts from past years and constructed a 70”x70” quilt to be raffled off at the 2012 reunion. Tickets will be sold the week of celebration.
Recipients of the Downs High School Alumni Association scholarships since its inception and their plans at the time of graduating are listed below. Two recipients were chosen for 2012 based on their applications and essays. Part of the criteria for gaining the award, is to attend the alumni reunion to be recognized for their hard work and future planning thus far. They are also asked to read their essay to the group as part of the program.