MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Two senior living communities on the Grand Strand host a scholarship competition for graduating high school seniors in the area.
Brightwater in Myrtle Beach and the Lakes at Litchfield in Pawleys Island participate in the Silver Pen Scholarship Program, a company-wide essay competition that has awarded nearly $275,000 in scholarships.
High school seniors submit a 1,000 word essay based on a chosen topic and a committee of residents at each Brightwater community evaluate them and award three scholarships; the largest being $2,500.
Deborah Stephens is the social coordinator at the Brightwater in Myrtle Beach. She tells News13, most of the people who make up the committee are former educators and this program re-connects them with that time in their lives.
Another way the program connects the two generations, along with the scholarship, winners also receive an engraved silver pen, something Stephens says was a rite of passage to get as a graduation present a number of years ago.
“This is a chance for us to reach out to the high school kids and actually have a meaningful conversation,” Stephens said. “With the little kids it’s great. You get to play and do crafts, but with these kids residents get to have one-on-one conversations. They really enjoy finding out what these kids are going to do with their lives.”
Ida Koskinen, a former teacher, is on the committee of residents at Brightwater who evaluates the essays.
She says, it’s interesting to see how the students interpret the topic each year and it provides insight to how the younger generation views the world.
“I think maybe it opens our eyes too,” Koskinen said. “We say we know it all, but they have some pretty nice ideas. Young people sometimes get a bad rap, but they are good, they are good.”
For more information about the Silver Pen Scholarship, click here.