"The MSSM Friendship Scholarship that I received.....allowed
me to attend my first choice school, San Diego State University.
Without the scholarship, I would have been forced to stay at home
due to lack of finances."
Ryan, San Diego State University
"The Friendship Scholarships allow other students to have a chance to affect
the world around them in a positive way just like the kids would have. I
know this scholarship has helped me to continue my education to make a
difference in the lives of people everywhere."
Emily, Santa Clara
"Dear Dr. McFadden, I really want to emphasize that the Friendship
Scholarship has really helped me. Thank you! . . . I am so honored to be one
of the recipients that received a great scholarship because it has
helped me financially and made me work harder in college to maintain
a good GPA to keep the scholarship for the next three years. . . .
My family was impacted . . . because my parents are less worried . . . I will never forget the
scholarship because it has helped me so much."
Yer, University of California, San Diego (first generation USA college student)
Friendship Scholarship will be awarded to a high school
senior graduating spring 2009, with preference given to a Merced
Union High Applicant.
Scholarship Applications will be
accepted January 1, 2009 through April 15, 2009 - all
applications must be post-marked on or before April 15, 2009.
The Friendship Scholarships are unique in
today’s world. A four year scholarship per recipient, awarding $4,000
annually to high school graduates accepted into an accredited four year
program at the college or university of their choice – and based solely upon
the qualities that embody “friendship:” compassion, trust, love, loyalty, a
devotion to serve others and better their community, to give to the world
and each other. These scholarships were inspired by the lives of my
children, Melanie, Stanley, Stuart, and Michelle and the incredible young
people, from very diverse backgrounds and interests, who were their friends.
These people represent the best of the future for all of us. Imagine a
scholarship based upon character and integrity! It is not limited to the
highest academic achievers (grade transcripts are not required for initial
application, though students must show proof of admittance to an accredited
four-year college in the USA). The scholarships do not depend upon parental
income, prowess in sports or any single potentially exclusive
accomplishment. The main criteria are friendship and compassion qualities.
Any and all graduating high school senior students may apply.
The HEART of the Friendship Scholarship
application is based on the personal essay from the candidate describing
what “friendship” has meant to them in their life, and on two or three
personal letters of reference, one of which must be written by a friend, a
peer, describing what this applicant’s friendship has meant to them and what
they foresee their friend doing for the world in the future. This letter
does not need to be especially literate, but might include an anecdotal
story so that we can “see” their friend.
Though the Friendship Scholarships were inspired
by my children’s lives, they are given to encourage and support the
education of young people who have demonstrated an incredible quality which,
regardless of their chosen career path, stands to substantially benefit
others and the community around them.
What makes an application good, one the
scholarship committee will like? Two things are looked at:
1. You, the applicant's,
personal essay on friendship and what it means to you, how it has shaped
your life, both in giving and receiving friendship from others. Adults,
peers, distant family, a kind stranger (not as in wandering the streets -
more like an unknown parent at a school festivity) - friendship in general,
and perhaps something that has touched your life. Lengthy essays quoting the
definition of "friendship" from a dictionary and using multiple-syllable
words may indeed read as very "grown up" and be quite imposing in it's
erudition, but will leave the reader feeling as if it is a re-write of
English lit paper #307 in your Junior year. They won't remember a thing
about it - or you, most importantly - five minutes into the next
application. Friendship Scholarship recipients are assumed to be able to
read and write, to have a reasonable background of education, or they
wouldn't have been accepted into a four year college or university. This is
not a test. Let your letter come from the heart.
2. The letter from your own
friend, a peer of your age. Their letter can have significant importance,
particularly if they can share an overall picture of you, and possibly a
personal anecdote of the part your friendship has played in their life,
perhaps changed it. They are also asked to "look ahead", to what they see
you doing in the future as you reach out to those around you. Up to two or
three letters are allowed and only one must come from a personal friend.
That is, however, the most important letter that will be looked at. One
previous recipient received the Friendship Scholarship based in part on a
very vivid letter written by her friend. It was obvious that English was a
second language for this friend, that the person had not attended Honors
English classes and possibly was not college-bound themselves - but oh, did
that friend paint the very image of a loving, giving friend in their letter
for the applicant.
Friendship, as you must know, is not based on
correct spelling, SAT scores or terrific sports ability. It is blind to
popularity, religion, and ethnic origin. "Friendship" is all about you.
Finally, something that is all about you......yet includes everything else,
every other person in your world.
The Friendship Scholarships are meant to be
"non-exclusive" - a scholarship attainable to every four-year college bound
graduating high school senior. Your application alone puts you into a
special category, as just in applying you have recognized a unique quality