(July 17, PACKER WEB EXCLUSIVE) The Washington Apple Education Foundation, Wenatchee, Wash., has awarded 93 scholarships to students from Washington’s tree fruit districts.

Founded in 1994 to benefit the tree fruit growing district communities, this is the fourteenth year the scholarships have been awarded, said executive director Jennifer Witherbee.

“The foundation was founded by industry leaders who wanted to put the industry good works under one umbrella for a greater impact in our communities,” Witherbee said.

Available to graduating high school students and current college students, the awards vary in amount from $250 to a full-ride scholarship, with the average being around $1,000, Witherbee said.

“Each scholarship is sponsored in memory of someone in the industry,” Witherbee said. “It’s unique to each award. The money from each scholarship is from a different tree fruit industry member.”

The awards total almost $200,000 in scholastic aid, Witherbee said.

“This is our fourteenth year, and every year it has grown,” Witherbee said. “It’s exciting to see (the program) growing.”

A 30-member selection committee reviews donor guidelines to determine the winners, Witherbee said.

“It’s really a lot of work for the selection committee,” she said. “They spend about 40 hours of independent time before the committee meeting,” Witherbee said.

Winners still in high school are notified when foundation members show up unannounced with congratulation balloons and award letters to surprise them, Witherbee said. College students receive the award letter through the mail.

Students receiving the scholarships will be recognized at luncheons on July 28 in Wenatchee and on August 4 in Yakima.

Washington apple group awards scholarships
In the Washington Apple Education Foundation's student scholarship program, a 30-member selection committee reviews donor guidelines to determine the winners, says executive director Jennifer Witherbee. "This is our fourteenth year, and every year (the program) has grown," Witherbee says. "It’s exciting to see it growing."