The Curry Coastal Pilot

This week, the Brookings-Harbor Scholarship Foundation marks its 20th anniversary with formal announcement of $108,000 in scholarships. See the list in today's B Section.

The foundation will be celebrating with its traditional reception on Wednesday, honoring the scholarship winners, their parents, their teachers and the donors who make it all possible. In addition to the foundation's awards, the reception also will feature scholarship winners from other organizations andndash; pushing the total thousands of dollars higher.

While this seems like a large amount, it doesn't start to cover the needs of students who are pursuing higher education. Gone are the days when a summer job at the lumber mill would pay for a year's worth of tuition, books, room and board. Financial aid is common, loans are almost mandatory, and students must work every angle to pay the way.

For example, in cooperation with Southwestern Oregon Community College, Brookings-Harbor High makes it possible for students to earn college credits while still in high school. Some BHHS graduates have college sophomore status.

Where do the foundation's funds come from? Mostly from the investment of its endowment. More than $1 million has been invested, made up of gifts from the estates of community members. They were teachers and businessmen, miners and waitresses, doctors and insurance agents, pioneer citizens and newcomers; they all left a legacy for the future.

There remainder comes from annual gifts, earned by community groups with fundraisers, or donated by businesses.

The foundation is a non-profit, independent organization operated by volunteers. Much of the paperwork flows through our office, so we know how much time, effort and consideration goes into making sure that the scholarships happen each year, and will continue to be available in the future.

No matter what the source, the scholarships are a wonderful investment in the future, and we're sure that these young people will always remember that the community gave them a boost. Twenty years is a milestone in a timeless program.