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"Scholarships For Military Children" Graduates with Honors

By Bonnie Powell, Marketing Business Unit
Special to American Forces Press Service

FORT LEE, Va., May 3, 2001 – Nearly 400 college and high school students have been named Fall 2001 winners in the first Scholarships for Military Children competition.

The Defense Commissary Agency and Fisher House Foundation initiated the scholarship program last fall at over 280 commissaries worldwide. Planners hoped first-year sponsor donations would allow at least 280 $1,500 awards -- roughly equal to the number of stores.

"The response from students and sponsors was fantastic," said Air Force Maj. Gen. Robert J. Courter Jr., commissary agency director. More than 5,000 students applied, and sponsor donations topped $500,000 -- enough for 391 scholarships, he noted.

The scholarships were open to qualified sons and daughters of active, reserve and retired U.S. military members. Applicants needed a minimum 3.0 grade point average and a record of community and leadership activities, and they had to write an essay on "What Being a Military Dependent Means to Me."

Fisher House administered the program and hired Scholarship Managers, a professional scholarship evaluation company, to pick the winners on merit. Fisher House is best known for building "comfort homes" near military medical facilities that military families use while loved ones receive treatment. Manufacturers and organizations that do business with the commissary system donated money ordinarily used for various other contests and promotions.

Bernard Coté of Scholarship Managers said the average applicant GPA exceeded 3.5. He rated the overall caliber of the applicant pool as among the best of all those his company has evaluated.

A complete list of scholarship winners is on the DeCA Web site at www.commissaries.com.

(Bonnie Powell is a member of the Defense Commissary Agency's Marketing Business Unit at Fort Lee, Va.)

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