NCHS Scholarship Foundation celebrates 50th anniversary

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Cat Levine, News Editor
@catcourant

For 50 years, the New Canaan Scholarship Foundation has been raising money for NCHS students that need financial aid for college. In honor of their anniversary, the board decided to transform the annual Scholarship Drive into the first ever NC Color Run. The Color Run will take place on April 29th, 2017 and is open to the entire town. The foundation hopes that all students and members of the community participate in the fundraiser and encourages everyone to start registering now.

NC Color Run co-chair Alison Mennitt helped come up with new ideas to replace the Scholarship Drive and raise student interest. “It’s the 50th anniversary of the New Canaan Scholarship Foundation and what better way to celebrate than with a color run!” she said. “We wanted to change it up because kids have been going door to door for 50 years, however nowadays with religious commitments, exams, and sports, we decided that going door to door wasn’t a good use of their time.”

Executive Board member Jennifer Essigs explains that in addition to the foundation’s 50th anniversary, another purpose of the color run was to boost student attendance. “We noticed that over the past three years, participation in the fundraiser was trending down. We decided to meet with the coalition leaders to ask for their input and they loved the idea of organizing a color run,” she said. “They gave us additional ideas like having a DJ or band and getting food trucks to raise morale.”

Ms. Mennitt hopes that more students at NCHS will participate in the color run then did so in the past Scholarship Drive. “The color run projects this new, fun image that differs from what we did in the past, and I believe that that will really attract students,” she said.

In order to find out how other organizations became so successful, Ms. Essigs interviewed surrounding towns’ scholarship foundations in Greenwich, Fairfield, Westport, and Newtown. “These committees have funding well over a million dollars. In New Canaan there are about fifty kids each years that apply for a scholarship. If we had a million dollars, we would automatically raise $100,000 with interest,” she said. “Many of these towns have Named Scholarships where if someone passes in your family, you can make a donation in their name, and then distribute the interest each year. We started it to better support our students that need financial aid.”

When meeting with students, Ms. Essigs understood that they liked the idea of a color run because it would be a great opportunity to bring the NCHS community together into one big event. “For the Scholarship Drive, everyone was separated into groups with different routes which made the event more individualistic. The color run allows everyone to come together in one location and fundraise as a large and unified group,” she said.

Junior Kaitlin Kearns, who participated in last years Scholarship Drive as part of the track team’s philanthropy project, has already registered for the upcoming event. “I’ve always wanted take part in a color run and so I am really looking forward to doing one for such a great and personal cause. I hope that most NCHS students come to the fundraiser because I think it will be a really fun way to earn money for our peers.”

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Cat Levine is a senior at New Canaan High School and Executive Editor for the Courant.

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