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Photo of Peggy Elliott

Peggy Elliott

The 2000 National Federation of the

Blind Scholarship Program

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This year's scholarship program will be the seventeenth since the organization determined to expand the number, variety, and value of the scholarships presented each year at our annual convention in July. Assisting the nation's most talented post-secondary students to fulfill their academic and professional dreams is one of the most effective ways for us to demonstrate our conviction that blind people deserve the chance to enter whatever field they demonstrate themselves equipped to succeed in.

Scholarships will be presented this year to thirty college, vocational-school, and graduate students. You will note that this is an increase of four scholarships available through the National Federation of the Blind. The decision to increase the scope and value of the scholarships awarded by the NFB reflects the Board of Directors' recognition of the importance and impact of the scholarship program. In celebration of the arrival of the twenty-first century, the NFB awards this year will range in value from $3,000 to $21,000. This top scholarship has been named the Kenneth Jernigan Memorial Scholarship and is presented by the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults. We will, of course, also bring the winners as our guests to the 2000 convention of the National Federation of the Blind to experience firsthand the excitement and stimulation of a gathering of the largest and most dynamic organization of blind people in the country today.

Also in honor of the life and work of our beloved leader, Kenneth Jernigan, Dr. Raymond Kurzweil will again this year present scholarships in the amount of $1,000 to each winner, along with the software and scanner to use the Kurzweil 1000, the superb scanning and reading system created by the Kurzweil Educational Group. This generous gift increases the value of each of the 2000 scholarships by an additional $2,500.

Again this year we plan to present up to three of the scholarships to students who won scholarship awards in a previous competition. The purpose of these special awards is to nurture in today's students an ongoing commitment to the philosophy and objectives of the Federation. The students so designated will be recognized and honored as the 2000 tenBroek Fellows. All current students who were scholarship winners in previous years should take particular note of this program and consider applying for the 2000 National Federation of the Blind scholarships.

Full-time employees interested in pursuing post-secondary degrees should take a close look at the scholarship form. Now one award may be given to a part-time student holding down a full-time job.

Every state affiliate and local chapter can help in spreading the word of this extraordinary opportunity for America's blind students. The scholarship application is now available for downloading from the NFB Web site, and forms have been or soon will be mailed to financial aid offices in educational institutions around the country. Many of these will be filed away and forgotten by the time students come to ask about financial assistance. It is very helpful to have local representatives deliver or mail forms to the actual college administrator who works with blind students. Being identified with such a valuable national scholarship program gives the local chapter and state affiliate prestige and respect, and the local touch insures that more blind students will actually have an opportunity to apply for these scholarships.

Anyone can order scholarship forms from the Materials Center, National Federation of the Blind, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230. State Presidents and members of the 2000 Scholarship Committee will also be sent scholarship forms. These may be copied as long as both sides of the form are reproduced.

Here is the text of the 2000 National Federation of the Blind scholarship application form:

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NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND

2000 SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM

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Each year at its National Convention in July, the National Federation of the Blind gives a broad array of scholarships to recognize achievement by blind scholars. All applicants for these scholarships must be (1) legally blind and (2) pursuing or planning to pursue a full-time post-secondary course of study in the fall semester of 2000, in the United States, except that one scholarship may be given to a full-time employee also attending school part-time. In addition to these restrictions, some scholarships have been further restricted by the donor. Scholarships to be given at the National Convention in 2000 are listed here with any special restrictions noted:

1 SCHOLARSHIP FOR $21,000

Kenneth Jernigan Scholarship--Given by the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults, a nonprofit organization which works to assist blind persons, in memory of the man who changed perceptions regarding the capabilities of the blind in this country and throughout the world. Kenneth Jernigan is seen as the most important figure in the twentieth century in the lives of blind persons, and the Action Fund wishes to open the twenty-first century with a $21,000 scholarship dedicated to his memory and to the continuation of the work he began. No additional restrictions.

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3 SCHOLARSHIPS, EACH FOR $7,000

Two National Federation of the Blind Scholarships--No additional restrictions.

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Melva T. Owen Memorial Scholarship--Given in memory of Melva T. Owen, who was widely known and loved among the blind. She and her husband Charles Owen became acquainted with increasing numbers of blind people through their work in the "Voicepondence" Club. Charles Owen says: "There shall be no limitation as to field of study, except that it shall be directed towards attaining financial independence and shall exclude religion and those seeking only to further general or cultural education."

4 SCHOLARSHIPS, EACH FOR $5,000

Four National Federation of the Blind Scholarships--No additional restrictions.

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22 SCHOLARSHIPS, EACH FOR $3,000

Hermione Grant Calhoun Scholarship--Dr. Isabelle Grant endowed this scholarship in memory of her daughter. Winner must be a woman.

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Mozelle and Willard Gold Memorial Scholarship--Endowed by the energetic and effective former president of the National Federation of the Blind of California, Sharon Gold, in loving memory of her mother and father, both of whom were dedicated to creating opportunity for their daughter and for all blind persons through Braille literacy and dedication to service. No additional restrictions.

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Frank Walton Horn Memorial Scholarship--Given by Catherine Horn Randall in loving memory of her father, Frank Walton Horn. No additional restrictions, but preference will be given to those studying architecture or engineering.

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Kuchler-Killian Memorial Scholarship--Given in loving memory of her parents, Charles Albert Kuchler and Alice Helen Kuchler, by Junerose Killian, dedicated member of the National Federation of the Blind of Connecticut. No additional restrictions.

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E. U. Parker Scholarship--Endowed by his wife who joined him in a lifetime of Federationism, this scholarship honors a long-time leader of the National Federation of the Blind whose participation in the organization stood for strong principles and strong support of the Federation's work. No additional restrictions.

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Howard Brown Rickard Scholarship--Winner must be studying or planning to study in the fields of law, medicine, engineering, architecture, or the natural sciences.

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National Federation of the Blind Computer Science Scholarship--Winner must be studying in the computer science field.

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National Federation of the Blind Educator of Tomorrow Award-- Winner must be planning a career in elementary, secondary, or post-secondary teaching.

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National Federation of the Blind Humanities Scholarship-- Winner must be studying in the traditional humanities such as art, English, foreign languages, history, philosophy, or religion.

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Thirteen National Federation of the Blind Scholarships--No additional restrictions, except that one will be given to a person working full-time who is attending or planning to attend a part-time course of study which will result in a new degree and broader opportunities in present or future work if a suitable candidate applies.

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CRITERIA: All scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic excellence, service to the community, and financial need.

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MEMBERSHIP: The National Federation of the Blind is an organization dedicated to creating opportunity for all blind persons. Recipients of Federation scholarships need not be members of the National Federation of the Blind.

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MAKING APPLICATION: To apply for National Federation of the Blind scholarships, complete and return the application on the reverse side of this sheet, attaching to the application all of the additional documents there requested. Multiple applications are unnecessary. Each applicant will be considered for all scholarships for which he or she qualifies. Send completed applications to Mrs. Peggy Elliott, Chairman, National Federation of the Blind Scholarship Committee, 805 Fifth Avenue, Grinnell, Iowa 50112; (515) 236-3366. Form must be received by March 31, 2000.

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REAPPLICATION: Those who have previously applied are encouraged to apply again. It is the intention of the National Federation of the Blind to award not less than three scholarships to men and women who have already received one Federation scholarship in the past if enough strong and worthy candidates apply.

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WINNERS: The Scholarship Committee reviews all applications and selects the scholarship winners. These winners, the same number as there are scholarships to award, will be notified of the selection by telephone by June 1 and will be brought to the National Federation of the Blind convention in July at Federation expense. This is in addition to the scholarship grant. Winners will participate in the entire convention and in the scheduled scholarship program activities, beginning with functions on Sunday, July 2, 2000. All decisions by the Scholarship Committee are final.

The National Federation of the Blind convention is the largest gathering of blind persons (more than 2,500) to occur anywhere in the nation each year. You will be able to meet other blind students and exchange information and ideas. You will also be able to meet and talk with blind people who are successfully functioning in your chosen profession or occupation. Federal officials, members of Congress, and the makers and distributors of new technology attend Federation conventions. Above all, a broad cross section of the most active segment of the blind population of the United States will be present to discuss common problems and plan for concerted action. It is an interesting and exciting week.

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AWARDS: The day before the convention banquet the Scholarship Committee will meet to determine which winners will receive which scholarships. The scholarship awards will be made during the banquet.

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NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND

SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION FORM

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Read reverse side of form for instructions and explanation. Form may be photocopied but only if reverse side is also included.

To apply for a scholarship, complete this application form and mail completed application and attachments to Mrs. Peggy Elliott, Chairman, National Federation of the Blind Scholarship Committee, 805 Fifth Avenue, Grinnell, Iowa 50112; (515) 236-3366. Form must be received by March 31, 2000.

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Name (please include any maiden or other names by which you have been known):

Date of birth:

School address:

School phone number:

Home address:

Home phone number:

Institution being attended in spring semester, 2000, with class standing (freshman, senior, etc.):

Cumulative grade point at this institution:

Institution to be attended in the fall of 2000, with class standing. Send by separate letter if admitted to school after submitting completed application:

List all post-secondary institutions attended with highest class standing attained and cumulative grade point average:

 

High school attended and cumulative grade point:

Vocational goal:

State your major:

Awards and honors (attach list if necessary):

Community service (attach list if necessary):

Attach the following documents to completed application:

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1. Personal Letter from Applicant. NFB scholarships are awarded on the basis of scholastic excellence, financial need, and service to the community. In preparing your personal letter, please keep in mind that the committee members and decision-makers are all successful blind college graduates. Take some time to think how you personally can convey your best qualities in your own words. This is an advocacy job; the committee members will note how you choose to do it. Please also keep in mind that the awards are restricted to blind persons, so the committee will be interested in what techniques and approaches you personally practice concerning your blindness. And please note that almost all blind students have financial need. Committee members will assume basic need, so you may choose merely to refer to this topic unless your need is unusual and extreme.

2. Send two letters of recommendation.

3. Provide current transcript from institution now attending and transcripts from all other post-secondary institutions attended. If you have not yet attended such an institution or have not completed one year of study, send high school transcript.

4. Send a letter from a state officer of the National Federation of the Blind evidencing the fact that you have discussed your scholarship application with that officer. We prefer that you discuss your application with the Federation state president, but a letter from any Federation state officer will suffice. President's address provided upon request.

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