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AMELIA PARKER, MHS 2013
Eastern University, Templeton Honors College 2017
Philosophy, with Sociology and Spanish Minor
Can you tell us how the Montclair Scholarship Fund helped you prepare financially for college?
I did not feel fully prepared financially as graduation approached. I sort of expected and accepted that I’d just have a lot of debt from loans to pay off. That being said, by the time I graduated, I had been granted some additional scholarships, including one from MSF, that certainly helped to ease the stress that accompanies college tuition costs!
I did not know which college I was planning to attend when I applied to MSF, though I had an idea. The MSF scholarship helped me prepare for college, of course, by making me feel more financially secure. But more importantly, it gave me a sense of accomplishment in all that I had done in my high school career. It felt great to be acknowledged for the efforts I had made to give back to the Montclair community. This honor also gave me the confidence to continue to try and make a difference wherever I end up, because the benefits are often unexpected.
I applied for an MSF scholarship because I felt like I had put in a lot of effort to make positive changes in my community and still be successful academically. I also hoped that one day I would be able to “pay it forward” to future MHS seniors who are trying to make a difference!
Did finances play a role in your choice of school?
Finances did play a role in my choice of school. I’m not sure what other options I would have if I could not have afforded college. I felt very strongly about attending college, and did not really have a backup plan…So I’m very thankful to MSF for making it possible!
Can you describe the factors that have influenced your college experience?
One of the most important parts of my college experience so far has been learning how to make decisions for myself. So much of our youth is spent listening to what other people think we should do. In college that doesn’t change–in fact, people will always tell you what they think you should be doing from what your major should be to what color you should dye your hair to what your summer job should be. It’s not to say that you shouldn’t listen to people you trust, but I’ve learned that other people aren’t always right, and disregarding your own feelings to appease others will never make you happy.
What other sources of financial aid did you receive?
In addition to the MSF scholarship, I also have a merit scholarship from the Templeton Honors College, institutional grants, other outside scholarships, Federal Work Study, and government loans. I currently work as a “Building Monitor” in the music building at my school. I also work as a Children’s Choir Assistant at a local church near my school.
What would you say to current Montclair High School seniors who are seeking financial aid?
To current MHS seniors seeking financial aid: Don’t sell yourself short! High school is one of the most stressful times of your life, and you deserve recognition for your accomplishments. Scholarships are there for your benefit and organizations like MSF want to see you succeed. Apply!
What do you remember best about being at MHS and living in Montclair?
One of the best things about Montclair High School and the town of Montclair itself is that people are genuinely supportive of one another. Students, teachers, parents, and neighbors are interested in what others are doing in their community and want each other to succeed. I’ll always feel like Montclair’s got my back!