High School Scholarships

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Information for Establishing and Maintaining College Scholarships

The Davidson County Education Foundation

The Davidson County Education Foundation (DCEF) was established in 1992 by local school supporters and led by businessman Bernard H. Thomas who served as its first president. DCEF is a non-profit, 501c3 organization, whose board of directors is comprised of local school supporters who volunteer their efforts on behalf of the students and staff of the Davidson County Public Schools. DCEF employs a part-time administrative director.

Programs of work include the Bernard H. Thomas Student Leadership Academy in June, STARS Academy in June, Teacher Mini-Grant Program, Endowed Scholarships presented in May and Project Potential Scholarships. DCEF is currently sponsoring our “Run Friends Run” 5K Walk/Run, the first Saturday in October. The proceeds benefit the students of the Davidson County Public School System.

High School Scholarships

Project Potential Scholarships have been a part of DCEF’s program for many years. They were begun at the suggestion of local businessman Tim Timberlake who, along with Lexington City School Superintendent Jim Simeon, successfully introduced the idea a couple of years earlier to the Lexington City School community.

Project Potential Scholarships in the amount of $500 are awarded to deserving ninth grade students who, for one reason or another, are at risk for not going to college after high school graduation. Some PPS students are not achieving at their potential. Others have had discipline infractions, truancy, or apathy. Some PPS students are the first in their family to plan to go to college.

Teachers, school counselors and principals work closely with the DCEF Scholarship Committee to select PPS recipients. PPS recipients are notified during their ninth grade year that they have been chosen for a scholarship and that the $500 is in the bank waiting on them to graduate successfully from high school. PPS recipients must sign a Letter of Agreement saying that they will maintain above a “C” average, attend school regularly, and maintain good discipline. Upon high school graduation and college acceptance and enrollment, PPS funds are sent to the student’s college of choice — either a two-year or four-year college or university.

Any individual, organization, business or group may make a tax-deductible donation to the PPS fund. Donations are accepted toward partial or full scholarships. Scholarships are awarded only in amounts of $500, and the total amount must be in place before the scholarship is awarded to a ninth grade student.

Endowed & Non-endowed College Scholarships

College scholarships are managed by DCEF and include an assessment fee. Anyone wishing to establish a scholarship will be contacted personally by a member of the DCEF Board to explore wishes and intentions. DCEF currently manages approximately 29 scholarships, both endowed and non-endowed. Scholarships are established in honor or memory of someone or as a fund, intended to benefit a deserving high school graduate. Citizens wishing to establish scholarships are asked to work with the DCEF Scholarship Committee to establish a written agreement as to how the scholarship will be administered. This eliminates confusion and ensures desires and intentions are fulfilled.

Individual scholarship funds are held by DCEF in an interest-bearing investment. An assessment fee of 1% is charged for maintenance of each individual scholarship. Each scholarship is reflected as a separate line item in the monthly financial statement of DCEF.

DCEF board of directors sends out scholarship applications and announcements in February. The deadline for submitting all scholarship applications is in March. The DCEF scholarship committee receives all applications and makes selections in accordance with the established guidelines for each individual scholarship. Examples: One scholarship is to be given to a student majoring in music. Another scholarship is for a student at North Davidson High School who plans to study horticulture. Yet another scholarship is for a student furthering their education in public education. Some scholarships are based on need, others on academic excellence, or both.

The DCEF Scholarship Committee meets to make scholarship selections. If a scholarship’s established guidelines call for a family member, contact person etc. to sit on the selection committee, that person is contacted and invited to meet with the Scholarship Committee. Guidelines for many scholarships ask the Scholarship committee to make the selection.

Once the scholarship recipients are selected, their school counselors and principals are notified. DCEF Board Members attend the Awards Day Ceremonies at appropriate DCS high schools and make the scholarship presentations to recipients. Again, families or sponsors of scholarships are welcome to be part of that presentation if they desire to do so.

Some donors wish to establish an Endowed Scholarship with a principal amount of $10,000 or more. Because present interest rates are so low, endowed funds do not generate enough funds to award a scholarship merely off of interest. Other donors choose to place funds in a line item account and award part of the money each year, adding to the amount over time. DCEF is flexible as to contributions. The board does require funds to be in place before scholarship applications are sent to high schools in February. NOTE: It is the intent of the DCEF Board of Directors and the Davidson County Public School System to work cooperatively with the community. The DCEF Board is responsible, ethical and financcially sound. Their desire is to serve staff and students in ways that benefit academic excellence. They are flexible and open to discussion regarding any of the DCEF programs of work. Please do not hesitate to call any board member or Laura Koonts, DCEF Administrative Director at 336-905-0976 or email DCEF at [email protected].

Project Potential Scholarships

  • Carefully selected ninth grade students receive a commitment of $500.00 to be used toward their two-year or four-year degree.

Project Potential was established in the Davidson County School System in 1998 through the efforts of the Davidson County Education Foundation.  Through the generous support of a number of contributors, the Education Foundation has raised money to provide scholarships to over 50 high school students.  A committee, made up of the DCEF Board Members along with Guidance Counselors and Administrators of the Davidson County Schools, oversees the program.  Rising 10th graders are selected during the second semester of their freshman year in high school.  Project Potential is designed to provide encouragement as students work through the challenges of being a productive and successful teenage and to offer financial assistance for continuing their education.

Students are recommended for this honor by their teachers and guidance counselors. The scholarship committee then reviews each of the nominees and determines the number of scholarships that may be awarded based upon the amount of available funds.

The goal of Project Potential is to ensure its recipients may attend Davidson County Community College for two years. The program encourages more students to reach their full potential by applying and conducting themselves responsibly during their high school career, by continuing their education beyond high school and preparing for a world of work and successful living.

After two years at DCCC, a student may take additional courses to enhance his or her skills and associate degree if there are remaining funds from their initial scholarship.

Project Potential recipients have several guidelines that must be followed in order to receive the scholarship after graduation:

1. Maintain a 2.63 average during your high school career

2. Be enrolled and graduate from a Davidson County Public high school

3. Conduct yourself properly in school and in the community

4. Participate in school activities or work part-time

5. Not be involved in any criminal activity

6. Enroll or attend an accredited two or four year college or university, and

7. Sign and return the enclosed Letter of Understanding.

For more information about Project Potential, call the Davidson County Education Foundation at (336) 905-0976 or write to:

Davidson County Education Foundation
P. O. Box 444
Lexington, NC 27293


Email Laura Koonts, [email protected]

A List of All of Our Potential Scholarships