Quite literally, every drive down the fairways at the recent 10th annual golf tournament of the Canyons Education Foundation was done for a great cause: supporting Canyons District’s mission of ensuring the college-readiness of every student enrolled in a Canyons school.
The some $80,000 in donations earned at the Sept. 18, 2019 fundraiser at Wasatch Mountain State Park, as well as other Foundation-sponsored events held throughout the year, are used to support the academic platform of CSD, provide scholarships help to students who have risen above adversity, and pay for innovative classroom projects spearheaded by energetic teachers.
A major program supported by the Canyons Education Foundation is Utah College Application Week, a time set aside to encourage every high school senior to complete and submit at least one viable application for post-secondary education. Schools in Utah are holding UCAW activities throughout October. Alta High held UCAW activities last week, and this week Brighton, Hillcrest, Jordan, Corner Canyon and Diamond Ridge high schools are holding events to support students’ efforts to apply for colleges, universities or vocational-training schools.
The Foundation’s governing board recently approved using up to $10,000 in donations to help low-income students pay applicable college-application fees during UCAW, which is held in collaboration with the Utah System of Higher Education. The CSD Foundation Board and Development Officer Denise Haycock presented the contribution in the form of a giant check to the Canyons Board of Education on Oct. 15, 2019.
The Canyons Education Foundation is able to support students in chasing their college dreams through the generosity of business and community partners who contribute to the education-focused nonprofit organization, said Foundation Board President-Elect Landon Bradfield.
Canyons students who don’t have the money to cover any college-application fees can ask their counselors to tap into the amount provided by the Foundation.
“Many students could feel overwhelmed or confused when completing applications,” Bradfield said. This could be especially true, he said, for low-income students or those who are the first in their families to apply for entrance to a college or university.
“We appreciate the work of high school counselors (during UCAW),” he said, “and by covering the cost of the application fees, the Foundation is allowing any student who wants to apply for college the ability to do so.”
Shortly after Canyons first started planning UCAW activities, “the Foundation said, ‘We can help out with that.’ It is so meaningful for students,” said Canyons Board of Education President Nancy Tingey. “We appreciate all the work the Foundation does in supporting teachers and students and what happens in the classrooms in Canyons District.”
UCAW is a fun week for high schools, says Hillcrest counselor Stephanie Johnston, who appeared on KUTV on Monday, Oct. 21 to talk about the post-secondary education promotional endeavor. The schools hold assemblies, post college-related items on social media, and encourage faculty and administrators to wear T-shirts and sweatshirts from their alma maters.
During the week, Johnston said, computer labs are staffed with counselors and teachers and others who can help answer questions about the applications. Schools also plan parent-information nights about the FAFSA, which stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
FAFSA is the federal form that students must complete in order to make themselves eligible for federal money that can be used to pay for higher education. By filling it out, Johnston says, students can be eligible for Pell Grants, Work Study Programs, and loans subsidized by the government.
Some students find the process so intimidating, Johnston said, but sometimes all it takes is a few suggestions and some words of encouragement for the applications to get filled out.