Prosper Education Foundation presents scholarships in outdoor ceremony

By Aubrey Turner
For the Prosper Press
Prosper ISD's Administration Building is shown July 10.

The Prosper Education Foundation presented scholarships to Prosper Independent School District seniors on May 6th.  Students, along with their families, were recognized as they received scholarship information.  Families who work in collaboration with the foundation to honor loved ones who have passed via a scholarship to a PISD student gave presentations about the ones whom they honor.   While the event was lengthy for students sitting outside, the event provided these students a way to gather and honor each other.  

“Prosper Education Foundation believes scholarships provide needed opportunities, funds, and encouragement students need to pursue excellence beyond our classrooms and onward to a strong future, ” Executive Director  of PEF Elizabeth Johnston said.  “Scholarships are a priority for PEF, and we are thrilled to see more and more community support join us in providing them each year.”  

Bill Beavers

“The ceremony was held at the stadium,” School Board Member Bill Beavers said.  “It is a great opportunity for the community to come together and celebrate these seniors who have been chosen for these scholarships.”

Kenzlee Rothenberg received a scholarship at the event.  “We attended the award ceremony for Prosper and Rock Hill High School,” Rothenberg said.  “I was awarded a PTO scholarship.  The ceremony was enjoyable.  We got to see our peers walk up on the stage and get commended for what they have done in high school. I really found it inspiring the scholarships that families have created in memory of their loved ones.” 

“The ceremony was outside and was a bit chilly, but it was so nice to be able to get ready for graduation,” Rothenberg said.  “I want people who are going to be seniors next year to know that they should apply for the scholarships early.  Do not wait, just apply when your parents ask you to do it.  I honestly waited too long.  As soon as you start applying for college, apply for scholarships.”  

“I feel honored to be chosen for a scholarship,” Rothenberg said. “I make alright grades, but nothing spectacular.  But I know it was my essay.  I was really vulnerable and wrote about something important to me.  So I felt honored that they read it and chose me for that scholarship.” 

Rothenberg is enrolled in Oklahoma State University.  “I am not exactly sure what I want to major in, but I am trying to decide between business and engineering,” Rothenberg said.  “I am also looking forward to making some relationships that will last for the rest of my life.  It is exciting to be going out on my own, my first step into real adulthood.” 

Maci Gray also was awarded a scholarship at the Prosper Education Foundation ceremony.  “It was a cool experience for everyone to get scholarships,” Gray said.  “I wrote a few essays about why we deserved scholarships, including high school activities or volunteering.  I was surprised that I got chosen to get a scholarship because I did not expect to receive a scholarship.”

“They said that there were 268 scholarships given,” Gray said.  “It was interesting that there are so many scholarships for the students.  There were 251 students who received scholarships.  The ceremony was long, but it was good for us to be there and to support each other.”

Gray is attending Collin College for nursing.  “This scholarship is helping me pay for my expenses.  Also, I felt like I worked hard to get this scholarship and it felt so good to be rewarded for my hard work.”  

“I thought the event was really cool,” senior Sophia Carbajal said.  “They raised $250,000 for us.  That is just amazing.  I won the Next Steps scholarship, which will help pay for my first semester at community college.” 

“I will be attending Collin College,” Carbajal said.  “I am undecided at the moment so I am just going to do my core classes.  I know I want to do something art related, maybe interior design.  I am excited for what comes next..”

“I want the future students to know to apply for as many as you can, as early as you can,” Carbajal said.  “Some of them require letters of recommendation, so you really need to be organized.  But this is money there for you for school, so you need to reach out and try.” 

Carbajal was pleased with the ceremony.  “It seemed like only half of the graduating class was there yesterday, so I know that not everyone got a scholarship,” Carbajal said. “I felt honored that people cared about our futures so much that they were willing to donate money and help us out.  It felt like Prosper was cheering for us.”