BELGRADE — The first recipient of the Calumet Education Foundation’s four-year Robert G. Fuller, Jr. Scholarship was on cloud nine when she learned she had been chosen, according to a news release from The Calumet Education Foundation.

In 2017, Katelyn Pino of Belgrade was a senior at Messalonskee High School in Oakland planning to attend St. Joseph’s College in Standish and major in nursing. She was raised in a single-parent family with two other siblings. Money for tuition was always going to be a big factor.

Robert Fuller had established a scholarship a generation ago because he was aware of the great financial need of many graduating high school seniors in central Maine. Recognizing that almost half of college students drop out of school because of lack of funds, he realized that if students stayed in school after their first-year scholarships were exhausted, they would have to take on tremendous debt. Fuller believed that students should not have to make that choice.

After speaking to several trustees of Le Club Calumet Educational and Literary Foundation, the organization that administers the scholarship, Fuller decided to do more. Beginning in 2017, the foundation began awarding a four-year scholarship to one recipient every year. Each Fuller Scholarship awardee now receives up to $15,000 each year of their four years of college.

At present, there are four students receiving four-year scholarships: one freshman, one sophomore, one junior, and Pino, the award’s first senior. Though this award takes into account academic and extracurricular achievement, the Fuller Scholarship prioritizes applicants with financial need who are the first in their family to go to college. Eligible applicants reside in central Maine towns with a zip code between 04300 and 04399.

Pino was encouraged by her mother and school guidance counselors in 2017 to seek out every scholarship available to her. The Fuller Scholarship was one of those.

“The Calumet Education Foundation,” she explained in a March interview with the foundation, “was special for me since my grandfather had been a member of Le Club Calumet for many years,” according to the news release.

Pino chose nursing as a career because helping others was always an interest of hers. Last spring, when St. Joseph’s closed in-person classes because of COVID-19 health restrictions, she was unable to complete some clinical rotations in the hospital.

This year she was able to begin her medical-surgical nursing internship at MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta, and now plans to specialize in that field. She is due to graduate from St. Joseph’s College with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in May.

Pino’s advice to all those preparing for college is to choose a vocation that they will be happy and fulfilled in. “You only have one life,” she said, according to the release. “I can’t wait to be a full-time nurse.”

The Calumet Education Foundation is currently accepting scholarship applications for its 2021 application cycle. This year’s scholarship application deadline is May 15. The foundation offers 20 different named scholarships and offers awards to roughly 30 high school graduates and current college students, last year totaling more than $100,000 in awards.

The foundation also offers grants to college students each fall, with a grant application deadline of Aug. 15.

For more information about the Fuller Scholarship, other foundation scholarships, grants, and how to apply, visit calumeteducationfoundation.org.

 

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