Renewable Scholarships Fund Four Years of School for Deserving Local Students

With 57 scholarship programs, there is plenty of variety for local high school seniors who are seeking help getting to college, including choice of schools, academic concentration, merit- or need-based, and more. The Outer Banks Community Foundation and its fund establishers, volunteer board, and committee members have invested a lot of time to ensure that scholarships are given to the most deserving, hard-working, and focused students. Scholarship fund goals are to help students succeed in school, and in life, and we feel our scholarship programs provide vital support and affirmation at a critical time.

In 2020, the Community Foundation board, after careful research and reflection, decided that all newly-created scholarship funds, with the exception of funds for partner programs, would be renewable. Their reasons for making this change are compelling:

  • Renewable scholarships mean more money per student, over the course of four years, which yields a bigger impact for each recipient
  • Renewability addresses front-loading concerns (a common practice at many, if not most, colleges and universities) because it allows awards to be carried over
  • Administration is reduced, meaning money in goes out the door and to students

Here are four stories that describe where college students are in their school careers—and on their paths through life. As you will read, renewable scholarships have made a profound difference.

Milton A. Jewell Academic Scholarship recipient – Isabel Estes, First Flight High School Class of 2019

Isabel Estes is a rising junior at UNC Chapel Hill, where she is studying English and Comparative Literature and Communications. She wrote, “Being among the first in my family to try going to college, or to go to Carolina, feels like trailblazing, almost. It’s like a leap in a completely different direction from most of the rest of my family. It’s been challenging to find my own path in that respect.”

Isabel also said, “Above all else, I’d like to express my eternal gratitude to the OBCF and the donors that have afforded me such a life-changing opportunity. I simply cannot express how grateful I am, how my heart feels as if it could burst with love and appreciation for the community I am so fortunate to be a part of. I hope to begin paying it back by making good on my intention to embrace the opportunities afforded to me by a college education, but also to pour what love and light I can back into this community. Thank you, from the bottom of my joyous heart, for taking the time to read the words I’ve written, and thank you for all you do to nurture our community.”

The Milton A. Jewel Academic Scholarship is a four-year, renewable scholarship with a potential value of $24,000.  The fund was established by our Community Foundation in 2003 with a bequest from Ruth Medgyes, a former Southern Shores resident, who wanted to honor her grandfather and help Dare County students attend college. Students are selected based on academic standing, SAT scores, community service, extracurricular activities, demonstrated leadership, two essay questions, and an interview. Financial need may also be considered. This scholarship is available to Dare County high school seniors and is renewable for up to four years, so long as the student maintains full-time enrollment and a minimum GPA of 3.0.

Jerry and Arlene Davis Scholarship recipient – Vanessa Salazar, Manteo High School Class of 2018

Vanessa Salazar is a rising senior at East Carolina University, where she is working toward a degree in Recreation Therapy. A 2018 graduate from Manteo High School, Vanessa transferred from Appalachian State to ECU after her sophomore year. The Jerry and Arlene Davis Scholarship has supported her throughout.

Vanessa recently wrote, “I am glad I made the decision to transfer to East Carolina University and pursue my Bachelors in Recreational Therapy with a minor in psychology. I believe everything happens for a reason and I am where I am now due to fate and hard work. Next fall I will enter my senior year at ECU and I honestly cannot believe how fast time went by. I am almost there! I want to take this time to thank the Outer Banks Community Foundation for aiding me financially during these past years. This help has greatly alleviated my concern of how I was going to pay my own way through college. I cannot put into words how grateful I am. Thank you.”

Established in 2007, the Jerry and Arlene Davis Scholarship is a renewable award for graduating seniors from Manteo High School or First Flight High School who demonstrate a positive work ethic and history. In 2018, the annual award for new graduates was increased to $6,000, providing a potential benefit of $24,000 per student. This need-based scholarship targets students who worked throughout high school and who plan to continue to work through college. The intent of this scholarship is to help students achieve educational dreams that might not otherwise be possible.

OBX Scholars Program Scholarship recipient – Carlos Daniel Escobar-Roldan, Hatteras Secondary School Class of 2018

Carlos, a Hatteras Secondary School graduate, is a rising senior at Appalachian State University. His major is Electronic Media and Broadcasting. He’s spent his junior year at home, and has had to purchase video equipment to do coursework remotely. Carlos works odd jobs while in school and will work over the summer to help with costs. His current course load is 19 hours, including an internship, which are all going well. “I’m enjoying my internship and gaining lots of valuable experience. I’ve edited a handful of videos that have been and are being televised in the Boone, NC area.”

Carlos continued, “Even though it’s been a very different school year, I’m still trying to get the most out of it. I’m really excited to return to campus this following semester and live off campus too for that experience. Thank you for your help so far!”

The OBX Scholars Program is a four-year, renewable scholarship with a potential $16,000 benefit. Established in 2017, the OBX Scholars Program is the Community Foundation’s broadest scholarship program, helping deserving Dare County and Ocracoke students of all backgrounds, interests, and academic goals attend the college of their dreams. Many different donors contribute to this fund, or have contributed to this fund in the past, including the Outer Banks Woman’s Club, Ocracoke Island Realty, Village Realty, the Kiwanis Club in memory of Leo Sheetz, and the Dare County Outer Banks Jaycees.


Charles H. and Dorothy S. Luedemann Art Scholarship recipient Enrique Babilonia, Hatteras Secondary School Class of 2018

Enrique is studying at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, and has been helped by several scholarships, including the four-year, renewable Charles H. and Dorothy S. Luedemann Art Scholarship.

Enrique wrote, “Attending Berklee College of Music has been challenging, frustrating, and at times overwhelming, but most of all, very rewarding. Being at Berklee has made me realize my deepest passions, and has given me every opportunity to optimize them. One of those things is trumpet performance. Just this year alone, I have played in more musical groups than I can count, ranging from film, pit and studio orchestras, jazz combos, wind ensembles, reggae bands, mariachi and salsa groups, and even a Justin Timberlake cover band. All of these groups, along with great resources to practice as much as I need to, have put me on a path to very exciting professional opportunities as I seek to make a living as a musician. However, if you look, my major is not listed as trumpet performance, but Composition. That is because while here, I discovered a very strong passion in writing music for the screen. This includes scoring for film, television, ads, radio, and any other things people do that can involve music.”

“Above all, this year has just been a very eventful one. I discovered new hobbies (like photography and cooking), rediscovered old ones (reading novels and drawing), and have found myself becoming much more extroverted and adventurous. I can’t thank you enough for all the continued support you’ve given me not just financially, but emotionally…I am and forever will be grateful for all you’ve done for me, as none of this would be possible without you!”

The Charles H. and Dorothy S. Luedemann Art Scholarship is a four-year, renewable scholarship with a potential benefit of $14,000. This program was established in 1998 through a bequest by Mrs. Luedemann to encourage talented Dare County students to pursue a college education in the arts, including music, visual arts, creative writing, or performing arts. This merit-based scholarship is renewable for up to four years, as long as the student maintains a minimum 3.0 GPA and remains full-time in college as an arts major.

College is full of changes, challenges, and demands, where young adults learn a great deal about life and strive to set their future course. We are honored to steward 57 scholarship programs for our community. We are committed to a fair, impartial process for all applicants. We would love to help every student who applies, and to that end, we will continue to work to build our scholarship funds. We are deeply grateful to every scholarship fund establisher. Scholarship funds can be established with as little as $1,000 in the initial year; if you are interested in learning more about creating a fund to honor someone, or to pass on your values to future generations, please give us a call. We would be honored to help you achieve your philanthropic goals.

Avoiding Scholarship Displacement

Students and parents, this post is to help you keep every local scholarship dollar awarded. The over-arching message is: communicate with your school’s finance office and understand their offer to you. Make sure all additional scholarships are added to your school’s financial aid package, and follow through when bills arrive.

Scholarship displacement is when a college or university reduces a student’s financial assistance by the amount of a new, “private” scholarship, rather than adding the new scholarship to the student’s aid package.

If you receive one or more “private” scholarships (that is, a scholarship from anyone other than your college), we urge you to make sure that your awards are added to the aid that your college promises you. None of your local scholarships—including any Community Foundation scholarships—should be replacing or reducing the grants or scholarships you were offered by your college. 

Here are our tips on how to avoid scholarship displacement:

  1. Read your financial aid letters. Once you’ve been accepted by a college or university, if you apply for financial aid, you should receive a financial aid offer letter from each school. Your aid package may include a mix of loans, work study, grants (including a Pell Grant), and other scholarships. Keep these financial aid letters, read them, and understand them.
  1. Choose your college according to your aid package, and how they would handle any local scholarships you receive. Once you have picked your top two or three schools, talk to them about the aid they have offered you. Call the financial aid offices and ask them how they’d apply any local scholarships you receive to the financial aid package that they have offered you.  Make sure you understand every single part of your aid package:
    • What’s a loan, and what’s not a loan.
      • You want your scholarships to remove the loans (and work study) off your package, or “unmet need”
    • What’s guaranteed to renew, and what’s not guaranteed.
        • What are the renewal conditions (e.g., GPA, particular major, enrollment status)?
        •  Are they guaranteed across all four years of college?

Take notes during your call. Get that person’s name and number. You may want to base your final college selection not only on the aid they have offered you, but on how they will treat any local scholarships you receive.

  1. If you receive a local scholarship, make sure it is ADDED to your school’s financial aid. Once you have selected your school and receive your first bill/statement, make sure that it shows all the local scholarships you were awarded. Then, make sure that your local scholarships are used to reduce your loans, work study, or any unmet need. Compare your bill to your original financial aid offer letter, and make sure and make sure your scholarship was applied against your loans or work study or “unmet need.” Check that none of the scholarships or grants from your college were reduced due to local scholarships. Call them back if you have doubts about this or if they if they do reduce your scholarships or grants, and politely ask them to fix it. For example, they can spread out your local scholarships over several semesters or years to ensure that you benefit from every dollar you earn.

With a little extra care at the front end, you can ensure all of your hard-earned scholarship awards actually give you the full benefits you deserve.

College Senior Christian Eberhard: “Apply Now for More Security, and for Future Schooling and Career Options”

Christian Eberhard (FFHS Class of 2017) will graduate from American University this spring with a bachelor’s degree in Physics. He has been helped with a renewable scholarship, the Sawyer Scholarship, which provided $5,000 per year for each of his four years; a total of $20,000. Christian also received a $1,000 Outer Banks Association of Realtors scholarship for his freshman year. In addition to his Applied Physics studies, Christian runs workshops for students on the use of 3D printers, laser cutters, and other technical machines. His love for the arts continues, and he’s making short films and doing comedy sketches in his free time.

“Applying and receiving a multi-year scholarship has been a tremendous help in my academic career. It has allowed me to venture out of North Carolina in pursuit of higher education… out of state schooling has given rise to incredible experiences and relationships, domestic and international, that I might not have had before. Also, because of this scholarship, I have been able to take out significantly fewer loans, resulting in less hesitation about future schooling/career options and more security.”

The Sawyer Scholarship provides needs-based scholarships to Dare County, Currituck County, and Ocracoke graduates. This scholarship is renewable for up to four years, so long as the student maintains full-time enrollment and a 2.7 GPA. The Sawyer Scholarship is just one of 55 scholarship funds at Outer Banks Community Foundation; this spring, one application will allow students to apply for as many scholarships as they wish.

High school students, our scholarship application process is open through March 20. Here is the link:

Parents, Outer Banks Community Foundation has awarded more than $2 million in nearly 2,000 scholarships to deserving students since 1983. Scholarship funds started generations ago are still making gifts today, and will continue supporting local students, far, far into the future. Scholarship funds can be named in your honor, in the honor of a loved one, or for a cause or career you care about. We invite you to make your mark, by making a lasting gift, such as new scholarship fund, donor-advised fund, or other fund. New funds can be activated now, or in the future by bequest. Call us if you would like more information.