Charles Kocher, Pilot staff writer

More than $200,000 in scholarships going to more than 65 students will be celebrated Wednesday in the annual reception held by the Brookings-Harbor Scholarship Foundation.

The scholarships handled by the foundation itself total $180,000 this year, according to board president Doug Nidiffer.In addition, a new fund will grant a $1,000 scholarship to every graduating senior enrolled in college who applied andndash; which could end up at more than $50,000.

The reception for students, families, faculty and donors is set for 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Brookings-Harbor High School cafeteria. Other groups giving scholarships are invited to make presentations or announcements at the session, but presenters should get on the program by calling BHHS Guidance Counselor Kathleen Dingle at 541-469-2108.

The scholarships range from $500 to $7,500 per student, and include both past graduates and members of the Class of 2014. "We're pleased to be helping so many students," said Nidiffer, "but we also know that this is only a small part of the college expenses that students face."

The federal grant - one of 12 in the state - is the result of an Gear-Up Program application made by the school district seven years ago, at the request of then-superintendent Chris Nichols. It was spearheaded by Gerry Livingston, the Education Talent Search specialist serving BHHS through Southwestern Oregon Community College.

"The program is aimed at creating a college-going atmosphere," she said, "and not just college but any education after high school."

The Class of 2014 was in middle school when the grant was awarded, and thus becomes eligible for the scholarships of $1,000 the first year, and $500 a year if they stay in college, up to a total of $2,500 per student. The next five graduating classes will be eligible for the same offer.

Other activities through the grant have ranged from career fairs, student visits to colleges, special information to families, and support of the volunteer ASPIRE program that helps families navigate the college decision process. The activities have reached down to all grades, Livingston said, such as a career fair this week that included all students at Kalmiopsis Elementary School.

The Brookings-Harbor Scholarship Foundation awards include invested funds managed by the foundation, and annual gifts made through the foundation. The scholarship winners have been notified of their total scholarships, but the source of the funds will not be announced until Wednesday.

The foundation is an independent non-profit organization, established in 1992 and operated by a board of volunteers that includes Nidiffer, John Babin, Dustin Bodman, Clar Byers, Scott Darger, Kathleen Dingle, Norma Fitzgerald, Charles Kocher, Susan Lunsford, Becky Olsen and Jan Westbrook.