The Cape Cod Foundation recently awarded $420,000 in scholarships to 138 local students who are beginning or continuing their higher education or pursuing certificate programs.
More than 300 people attended the annual reception at the Dennis Inn where many scholarship donors and review committee members met the recipients in person for the first time.
Some of this year’s students will be pursuing degrees nearby at Cape Cod Community College and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. Others will be venturing farther from home to study at Tufts, MIT, Brown, Wheaton, Carnegie Mellon and other fine colleges and universities throughout the United States. They will prepare for careers in business, law, engineering, medicine, politics, social work, environmental sciences, education, and the arts.
Lisa J. Oliver, President of The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod which sponsored the event, told students it doesn’t matter which school they are attending, “It’s what you do with the education that matters.” She also advised, “…the ability to communicate, is one of the most critical talents you can possess.”
Henry R. Holden, Chairman of The Cape Cod Foundation’s Board of Directors planted another seed by encouraging the scholars to pursue their educations and someday return home. “The Cape needs you,” he said. “We need you.”
It was the perfect segue to introduce past scholarship recipient and keynote speaker Dorothy Bassett. From 2006-2009, the Chatham native received scholarships from the Foundation to earn an associates degree from Cape Cod Community College and a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Sciences from the University of Massachusetts in Boston. Today, she is the Director of Operations for the Chatham Marconi Maritime Center and STEM Education School.
“I feel like I have lived ten lives since high school,” she told the audience. “I worked for three years as a hazardous materials chemist in Boston, learned to weld, and moonlighted in robotics…I explored the ruins of Ankor Wat, volunteered in Kenya, kayaked through the glow worm caves in New Zealand, met former headhunters in Borneo, and had a few other misadventures.”
She urged students to experiment and seize opportunities. “It’s ok, and good for you, to experiment too. You have so many potential paths in front of you, it’s only human to want it all. But you will eventually have to focus in order to specialize your skills. Focus then on the career that you are passionate about, not the commensurate paycheck, and you’ll do just fine.”
Bassett continued, “You have been given a tremendous opportunity by The Cape Cod Foundation. I hope you grab onto it with both hands and use this opportunity to better your life. You have earned your seat at this table, and sometime down the road, I want you to earn your place at this podium.”
The Cape Cod Foundation currently has more than 70 scholarship funds totaling almost $8.5 million in principal that award scholarships annually to students in our region. Its partner, the Cape Cod Association, also awarded $437,500 to 286 students earlier this month, bringing the total scholarships awarded from the two organizations to more than $850,000.
“The best is yet to come,” said Kristin O’Malley, President and CEO of The Cape Cod Foundation. “Education opens up a world of opportunities. We are proud to support our recipients on the next step of their journeys and can’t wait to hear about their accomplishments and adventures in the years to come.”