Local boy makes good. That’s a quintessentially American tale. What they don’t tell you is that local scholarships often helped that local young man or woman become a success.

We all need a hand up at times. What better investment can a community make than giving one of its promising students some local scholarships to help him make his way in the world?

It’s instructive to look at some of the individuals who have gotten mileage out of these local scholarships. You may not have exactly the same experience, but the point is important to make.

John had an interest in studying business. He appealed to his local rotary club—a group of business leaders from the community—for some help.

One of the rotary members offered John a $250 scholarship and wanted him to appear the following summer in front of the group to give them an update on his progress. Wow, John thought, that was easy. Local scholarships do pay off.

But the rotary club was so impressed with John that another offer came his way. A man who owned a local business new John’s Italian grandfather and suggested that John might be able to earn the Italian-American Scholarship their club offered every year.

John looked into it, filled out some paperwork, and then wrote an essay about what being Italian meant to him. John won the $1,500 scholarship and immediately added it to his growing college fund.

Lisa was a junior in college studying marketing. When she returned home for winter break she went into a local retail store and got a part-time job. Before she returned to school the manager offered her a $1,000 scholarship to help with tuition. He also mentioned that if she were interested there would be a management training position opening up in the corporate office soon after she graduated.

Vince was a real go-getter. He was willing to scrap for all the local scholarships he could find and learn something about. One was an essay contest that asked him to describe the town he lived in and what he liked about it. Vince didn’t win—he got second place—but only five people entered and second place was good for $500.

But Vince didn’t stop there. He entered several more scholarship competitions and even managed to win two of them.

One of the competitions was through his father’s company. He simply had to have the highest grade point average among high school seniors whose parents worked for the firm. That was worth $750.

Vince still wasn’t done. A local charity Vince had raised money for in his spare time gave Vince a $500 scholarship for raising the most money among all local high school students. Vince’s total local scholarship take was $1,750. Not too bad.

As you can see there are quite a few scholarship opportunities in your own backyard. All you have to do is get out there and pound the pavement to find them. Really, you don’t even have to do that—phones and the internet work just fine and are more efficient.

Whatever you do, do something. Local scholarships are out there, but you have to go look for them.

If you are chosen for the Truman Scholarship you will receive $30,000 for up to three years of graduate study.

Are you ready for the NEXT STEP!