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Scholarships Let Elementary Students “Dream Big”

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Scholarships Let Elementary Students “Dream Big”
Posted on 12/05/2014

The cPort Credit Union College Aspirations Scholarship Program gets “elementary school students thinking big about their future plans for college,” according to Portland Public Schools Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk.

Caulk is featured in a new video about the innovative scholarship program that offers elementary school students $100 scholarships to get them to start planning early for college.

The superintendent says in the video that the program “is very exciting because, as an organization, our goal is to prepare students for college and career and life.”

Portland-based cPort Credit Union partnered with the Portland Public Schools six years ago to begin the scholarship program. It started as "Riverton & Beyond" at Portland's Riverton Elementary in 2008, and has since expanded to all Augusta elementary schools beginning in 2010, as well as Portland's Ocean Avenue School in 2011 and Reiche School in 2013.

cPort Credit Union President and CEO Gene Artdito says in the video that the genesis of the program was his son applying to college. Ardito realized: “It’s a difficult process and you can’t wait too long to start it.” He said that experience made him ask, “How can we do something in the community that can help kids be prepared at an early age?”

The program begins with students in grades 3-6 participating in an aspirations workshop. Following the workshops, students are encouraged to write an application essay for a $100 college scholarship focused on their interests and future career aspirations, and how higher education may help achieve those goals.

The scholarships are awarded to recipients in a schoolwide ceremony, where all participants are acknowledged with a t-shirt and certificate of participation.

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Some cPort Credit Union College Aspirations Scholarship winners.