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Rotary supports adult continuing education

by ROSE SHABABY
Staff Writer | May 6, 2021 1:00 AM

Many people in Bonners Ferry know about the Rotary Club’s scholarship program but what most may not know is that the scholarships are not just for graduating seniors. Adults with a desire to continue their education can apply for them as well.

Tanya Currie is one such recipient.

Currie first learned of the scholarship program when her daughter was getting ready to graduate high school and searching for scholarship opportunities. At the time she was working at Syringa Family Partnership, LLC, a Developmental Disabilities Agency. She saw how important language and communication was in her work with children but soon realized that she “would not be able to advance at work without a degree no matter how much experience I accumulated.”

She realized she needed to move on to something else or complete a qualifying degree. She chose the latter.

It was a decision that brought her full circle back to the Rotary Club scholarship program, except this time it wasn’t for her daughter, it was for herself. She received her first scholarship from the Rotary Club in 2015 and her second in 2016 before receiving her degree in 2019.

Applying for the scholarship is a fairly straightforward process. Andrakay Pluid, chair of the Rotary Club scholarship program and a recipient herself in 2007 and 2008, said applicants need to provide their transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a personal statement outlining their goals, community service and any other personal information they choose to share. Each applicant is eligible for two scholarships.

The program isn’t exclusive to those seeking a degree either. Applicants who want to pursue a vocational or technical career are eligible, too.

While the 2021 application deadline has passed, there will be a new school year starting in the fall and with it comes another chance to apply for a Rotary Club scholarship. That gives anyone considering returning to school plenty of time to prepare.

Currie wants other adults who might be considering continuing their education to “continue learning and don’t let age hold you back.” She was 45 when she finished her degree and discovered that her age was often an advantage, strengthening her ability to demonstrate knowledge and learn new concepts.

A study done by the Journals of Gerontology and published through National Center for Biotechnology Information also found that for those in midlife, “adult education consistently contributed to an increase in [...] cognitive ability outcomes at all levels of previous educational attainment.” The study also showed a significant increase in verbal memory and fluency, as well as speed and concentration.

Bottom line? Continuing education is good for your brain.

As far as Currie is concerned, she has no regrets and is looking forward to the future. She’s even considering going back to school again.

For Currie, receiving the scholarship wasn’t just a means to help pay for college. It was “representative … of the level of commitment, care and belief in my future given by my fellow community members.” She went on to say that “the Rotary Club of Bonners Ferry … not only invest[ed] in me but also the children and families I work with.”