Rick Bedigan (center) Executive Director of the Worthington Scholarship Foundation, recently visited Lincoln Academy to introduce this scholarship for Maine college students that is newly available to graduating seniors in Lincoln County. He is pictured here with LA Director of Counseling and Studies Sarah Wills-Viega (left) and Guidance Counselor Jose Cordero (right).

Lincoln County high school students who plan to attend college in Maine will have another source of scholarship funding this year, thanks to a local foundation. The Worthington Scholarship Foundation is a Maine Foundation that provides scholarships, mentoring and other support services to students who attend both high school and college in Maine. The fund was established by David and Beverly Worthington in 2010, and has expanded in 2020 to benefit high school graduates in five Maine counties.

The Worthington Scholarship Foundation aims to help make college attendance more affordable and support completion of a college, university or community college degree. The fund supports graduates from participating high schools in Knox, Waldo, Lincoln, Hancock and Washington counties who are going on to college and certificate programs. In addition to Lincoln Academy, scholarships are available to graduates of twenty three high schools in Maine including Oceanside, Camden Hills, Medomak Valley, Boothbay, and Wiscasset.

The number of students supported by the Foundation is significant. Last year 110 new scholarships were awarded, totaling 230 students receiving scholarships. In 2020 those numbers will expand to 224 new scholarships, for a total of 430 students receiving scholarships. According to Kerry Hadley, Communications Specialist and College Mentor at the Worthington Foundation, each scholar receives $2,000 per semester for programs ranging from a one-year certificate program to a four year bachelor’s degree, making the maximum award for a Worthington scholar at a four-year college $16,000. Students can use the scholarships at partnering colleges: Bates, Bowdoin, Colby, Husson, Maine Maritime, Thomas, any of Maine’s seven community colleges and any college in the University of Maine system.

Worthington Scholars are selected by scholarship committees at their high schools based on academic merit and financial need. Students meet Worthington’s financial criteria if their Expected Family Contribution as calculated by the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is $15,000 or less.

According to Hadley, “multiple scholarships are available at Lincoln Academy. In general the larger a school’s student population, the more scholarships are provided.”

In addition to scholarship funds, foundation staff provide mentoring throughout students’ college careers. “We get to meet the scholars for the first time the summer after they are selected,” said Hadley. “At that point we have a meeting to help students prepare for college. Also, working with each college’s orientation staff, we will arrange a Welcome Event at each campus during the school’s orientation.” The foundation uses an online app called Worthington Connect to help scholars connect with each other and with mentors at the foundation.

The Worthington Scholarship Foundation is made possible by a gift from David and Beverly Worthington, summer residents of Spruce Head Island and winter residents of Naples, Florida. Their connection to Spruce Head led the Worthingtons to start offering scholarships to students graduating from Oceanside High School in 2010. Over the last ten years, the couple has gradually expanded their program.

“The Worthingtons want to help as many young people as possible,” said Hadley. “Both of the Worthingtons are first generation college grads themselves. They chose to start small, as good business practice, and the scholarship has been tweaked every year to make improvements. They have always had plans to expand, and will expand to even more counties in Maine in the future.”

“We hope students will apply! We are glad to get the word out and encourage students to take advantage of this resource.”

For more information about the Worthington Scholarships at Lincoln Academy please reach out to the LA Guidance Office at 563-3596 ext. 128.