Updated: August 10, 2013 6:08AM
Kim and Chris Adkins of Portage recently were driving home from an orientation program at Ball State University with their daughter Kaitlyn, who will attend the school in the fall.
“We already have a son in college, so we were aware of the expenses involved, but it was still a shock,” Chris said of the areas discussed at the orientation. “We were thinking about it all the way home.”
Some of the family’s concerns were lifted the next day, when Kaitlyn received notice that she was among 10 local high school graduates who would receive a $2,000 HOPE scholarship, which was one of many she applied for.
Established through a partnership between the Northwest Indiana McDonald’s Operators and the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana, the scholarship program recently held its first-ever press conference and award ceremony at the Food Bank in Gary.
Opening the ceremony was Food Bank executive director Arlene Peterson.
“I understand the cost of education can make you squirm,” she told the students and their parents gathered under the outside tent. “The HOPE scholarship is just the beginning of this educational attainment.”
Businesses give back to their communities in many ways, and the scholarship fund is much needed in the area, according to Bob Mazarro, president of NIMO.
“Education costs a lot these days and every little bit helps,” he said. “We want to recognize the achievements of these students — they are our future leaders.”
Alexandria Pavlinac of Portage will study business at Purdue North Central this fall. She is a 21st Century Scholar, which pays her tuition, but she still has the responsibility for room and board, books and other expenses.
“This (HOPE) scholarship will help with my books,” she said, after receiving her award. “I truly appreciate the help. This is one less worry.”
Recipients of the HOPE scholarship were selected based on their academic excellence, community involvement and financial need.
This 2013 group marks the first class of graduates to receive the HOPE Scholarship. They are: Kaitlyn Adkins, Portage High School; Anissa Ortiz-Epic, Academy Charter High School; Sergio Hernandez, South Newton High School; Alexandra Pavlinac, Portage High School; Kiesha Jackson, 21st Century Charter School; Sarah Reed, Crown Point High School; Arielle Martin, Munster High School; Zachary Smith, Portage High School; Emily Mis, Munster High School; and Cody Spoolstra, Portage High School.