Starting this year, the Nantucket Golf Club Foundation will officially offer a partial scholarship focused on helping vocationally-inclined students.
With an application packet deadline of March 15, 2019, the Nantucket Golf Club Foundation’s Vocational Scholar program will provide seniors with a practical avenue of financial assistance to help fund higher education opportunities in the future. Students can find the application packet in the guidance office, or on the guidance page of the Nantucket High School website.
Last school year, the Nantucket Golf Club Foundation began to experiment with the preliminary stages of this venture. Working with explicit recommendations from vocational teachers at Nantucket High School, the board identified a small group of particularly exceptional students who hoped to continue their vocational education. The Foundation then offered them financial assistance catering to their specific needs and goals.
The Vocational Scholarship program’s structure is still very open-ended and will be quite adaptable to each individual, at least for the first year. The more traditional Golf Club Scholarship process is quite structured and rigorous, allowing plenty of time and opportunities for the committee to get to know the applicants firsthand. Starting with an in-depth application packet, the scholarship committee observes applicants as they participate in multiple rounds of forums, dinners, interviews and presentations. The applicant pool is narrowed with each round, ultimately leading to the selection of two scholars who receive full tuition to their school of attendance.
The Vocational Scholarship, on the other hand, will primarily revolve around collaborative discussion of applicants, basing decisions largely on input from vocational faculty and guidance counselors. “It’s totally different than the scholar program, it’s still evolving, but we rely heavily on the feedback from a teacher because the teachers in these classrooms work so closely with the students,” said Tommy Bresette, the Chief Operating Officer at the Nantucket Golf Club and Executive Director of the Nantucket Golf Club Foundation.
The term ‘vocation’ can be hard to define, especially when determining case by case which students will be able to qualify for the scholarship. It is with this interpretable and adaptable nature that the program will run. “Were building the plane as we fly it in a sense. We don’t want to define it in a way that will reduce the amount of people applying for it. We want as many people to apply who think that they could qualify for it,” said Courtney Foster, a guidance counselor at the high school and member of the Nantucket Scholar Review Committee. The benefits of the program far outweigh the potential problems that may arise out of its current state of ambiguity. “We’re still working on [the program], but we don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to offer it; if you think that you’re even applying to any kind of vocational program, we encourage you to fill out the application and then we’ll figure out what we’re looking for from there,” Foster added.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the total undergraduate enrollment in postsecondary institutions has increased by 28 percent between 2000 and 2016. Despite the cultural push to attend college, studying vocational trades such as plumbing and electrical work is a rewarding and lucrative option for many young people. “It seems to me that there’s a shortage of people in the trades. These trades are real careers, they make a lot of money, and the room for improvement and promotions is really big in all the trades. I think more students are looking at it as a career and they should be because they are great careers.” said Bresette.
Gideon Holdgate, a senior at NHS, plans to pursue woodworking training after he graduates from high school, with particular passion for creative work and intricate details. Holdgate spoke on the benefits of studying vocational skills instead of more general majors, such as business: “It’s definitely safer in my opinion. Now I know exactly what I want to do, and will I learn specific skills to use in that specific trade so I’m already prepared for what I want to do rather than being like ‘I could do this, I could do that.’” He also expressed his appreciation for the program, saying, “The good thing about this scholarship is that it’s not like two people get a full ride, it’s more like a bunch of people get a good chunk of their college tuition paid for.”
The mission statement of the Nantucket Golf Club Foundation is to promote the positive development and enrichment of Nantucket children, and the newly created Vocational Scholarship program will certainly serve to fulfill that mission.
By Owen Hudson