LenFest Scholars For Life
October 1, 2017
The expenses of college are enough to overwhelm students. And they take every opportunity they can to earn money to pay for those extra years of education. There is one scholarship in particular that not only helps you financially, but it also helps students go through everyday life unlike any other award.
The Lenfest Scholarship was founded upon by H.F (Gerry) and Marguerite Lenfest, who prospered in the oil industry. Because of their wealth, they decided to give money back to the community, especially to students. They came up with the LenFest Scholarship to help students make it to college. The goal was to take kids from rural communities and introduce them into rigorous academic pursuits.
James Buchanan High School is one of the many schools found in the rural areas of Central and Southern Pennsylvania. Two students from JBHS applied for this Scholarship: Nicholas Garbinski, 12, and Renee Sollenberger, 12.
Garbinski and Sollenberger are both very active throughout the school, participating in many extracurricular activities.
Garbinski is part of the Swim team, Cross Country team and the Wrestling team, along with being a part of the JBHS Band.
“I am currently looking into engineering…” said Garbinski. “Not sure what kind yet, but I would either go for civil engineering or chemical engineering.”
Sollenberger is an athlete in basketball and volleyball. In addition, she is the secretary for the graduating Class of 2017. Like Garbinski, she is also a part of the JBHS Band.
“I am majoring for something in the sciences…” Sollenberger said. “Either biological engineering or just biology.”
Sollenberger and Garbinski heard about Lenfest from their school counselors during their junior year. They both decided to take the challenge, but there was a lot of work and effort that was ahead of them.
“There are three different rounds that each student applicant has to go through,” guidance counselor Mrs. Lynn Troutman, Faculty, explained.
“The first round is when each applicant gives the basic information about themselves and then they write a short essay,” said Troutman.
“If they make it to the next round, they receive three long essays and they must get teacher recommendations along with a counselor recommendation. The third round is when they do an interview with different universities.”
They do not find out whether or not they make it as a LenFest Scholar until the end of May.
The toughest part about applying for a college or for a scholarship is the wait and the results. Sollenberger and Garbinski started to feel a little anxiety awaiting the results.
According to Sollenberger, “I was not the first one to find out about my results. My dad opened the letter before I got home from practice because he really wanted to know what the ending results were.”
“Once I pulled out the letter, I felt so relieved. All of that hard work paid off. I told my mom (who at the time, already knew about it) and she said that dad already told me. The biggest surprise was when he came home with flowers in his hand.”
“When I found out that Renee got her letter and she got in, that’s when the nerves started to settle in because I did not get the letter yet,” Garbinski said.
“Heart pounding, palms sweating because you are so nervous that you are going to open the letter and it is going to say, ‘Thank you for the application, but no thanks.’ Fortunately I was lucky enough to get the letter, ‘Congratulations you are a LenFest Scholar.’ I was pumped after that.”
Troutman described Sollenberger and Garbinski as “two pleasant, strong students academically and their involvement in the school.”
She was not surprised when she found out that both of them got accepted.
Lenfest is looking for students who show leadership, volunteerism-giving back to the community, and students who have the academic ability to get into prestigious universities.
Both Sollenberger and Garbinski agreed that it is worth taking this opportunity. Grades do play an important role in this process. Whether or not students believe they can or can not get the end result is up to them. The more work effort that gets put in can lead to the desired result.
To find out more information about this opportunity go to https://www.lenfestscholars.org/