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Valley University Women sign off last scholarships to high school seniors (while ruing program’s end) – Daily News

Rini Kraus remembers her college scholarship from the Valley University Women being $ 50 in 1959 when she graduated from John Burroughs High School in Burbank.

“Fifty dollars doesn’t seem like much, but back then I paid a $ 64 tuition fee at UCLA,” she says. “That $ 50 meant a lot to me and all the other recipients.”

It was payback for all those nights they stayed up late to study a few more hours because a B in the class just wasn’t going to cut it. They needed that A.

It was recognition for all the hours after school and on weekends they did community service work, and all the heart-felt words they laid out on paper in essays about their families struggles and successes, and their own dreams.

They had to be better than good. They had to be great and honest because most of the women in VUW deciding who would get that scholarship were retired school teachers. They had seen it all. The kids who talked a good game and the kids who actually won the game.

Rini was cleaning out some old files recently when she found the 1959 letter the university women had sent congratulating her on being chosen as one of their scholarship recipients.

She went online and found their website to give them a call – an update on what that $ 50 started in 1959. Rini went on to graduate from the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in business, and worked at CBS Studios for many years.

When Rini called, Doris Dent picked up the phone. As chairperson of the scholarship committee she was just beginning to work on the final batch of 2022 applications to decide this year recipients.

The last recipients. There will be no more.

“Our membership has aged, died off, and dwindled to the point that this, our 66th year, will be our final year for giving scholarships,” Doris said. “Last year, we funded 3,000 scholarships for 15 high school seniors, and just in the 15 years I’ve been in charge of the scholarship committee, we have given out 180 scholarships.”

That doesn’t include the 50 years before she joined. There are well over 1,500 seniors from families of limited income who had the door to college opened for them because of their hard work and the financial support of the VUW.

These women aren’t rich. They don’t just write a check from their savings account to fund these scholarships. Not on a retired school teacher’s pension. There are no corporate sponsorships.

They do it the old fashioned way – bake sales, auctions, raffles, bequests and going hat-in-hand to donors asking them to help some kids who are truly special.

That’s what they’ve been doing for 66 years, and now it’s time to say goodbye to their scholarship program. Time has finally caught up with the membership, almost all of whom are in their 90s. It hurts not to be able to offer the scholarships anymore, Dent says, but they have no choice.

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