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Dollars for Scholars raises funds for Arlington students

LAKEWOOD — In spite of the evening’s cold, wet weather, the Arlington Chapter of Dollars For Scholars raised only $73 less through their Feb. 21 fundraiser at Boston’s Gourmet Pizza Restaurant in Lakewood than the Everett Silvertips collected at that location during their “Tip a Tip” event the following night.

“We didn’t actually have a goal, but I was kind of hoping for more,” Arlington Dollars For Scholars Chapter President Sandie Cooper said of the group’s first such fundraiser at Boston’s, which raised $300. “I’m still happy that so many people were willing to pitch in and help out. That’s money that can go toward helping some student buy books.”

Boston’s awarded the Arlington Dollars For Scholars Chapter 10 percent of all food orders placed by both dine-in and take-out patrons from 5-8 p.m. Dollars For Scholars has been helping Arlington students pay for college for more than a decade, but in the current struggling economy, Cooper acknowledged the challenge of meeting the needs of everyone who applies for a scholarship with the group’s Bingo challenge in October.

“This has been our big event of the year, but now our goal is to exceed the amount of money we’ve raised in the past,” Cooper said. “We are all too aware of the rising costs of college that every student now faces.”

Among the supporters of the Arlington Dollars For Scholars Chapter who stopped by Boston’s on Feb. 21 to bolster their fundraiser was Arlington Police Chief Nelson Beazley, who ordered enough flatbread pizza, soup and nachos to need a takeaway container at the end of his meal.

“This is a great way for the community to support our students,” said Holly Sloan-Buchanan, one of the founders of the Arlington Chapter of Dollars For Scholars. “Some students even come back and sponsor our scholarships themselves. It’s fun to find out what they’re doing out in the adult world.”

Margriet and Merlin Verhoeven took a seat for some pizza at Boston’s for the first time that Tuesday, to help fill the coffers of the group that helped their children continue their educations into college in turn. Son Kevin, who’s worked as a computer engineer since graduating from Western Washington University, and daughter Idamae, a pharmacy technician whose higher education got started at Everett Community College, both benefited from other scholarships, whose sources ranged from Rotary to former state Gov. Gary Locke, but their parents agreed that the Arlington Chapter of Dollars For Scholars played a key role.

“If you’re just middle-class, it can be really hard to get help,” Margriet Verhoeven said. “Besides, this is really good pizza.”

Arlington School District bus drivers David Chapman and Deann Van Winkle already support the Arlington Dollars For Scholars Chapter through payroll deductions, but that didn’t stop them from showing up to Boston’s on Feb. 21.

“We’re feeding our faces to feed this scholarship,” Chapman laughed, as he and Van Winkle dined on chicken Parmesan, pulled pork sandwiches and Hawaiian pizza. “It’s admirable of Boston’s to be part of this.”

“This is a wonderful program, and they’re to be commended for supporting it,” Van Winkle said. “It’s tough enough to find money these days. Every little bit helps.”

“In 2009, we awarded 106 scholarships worth just over $100,000, but by 2011, we had only $50,000 to give,” Cooper said. “Our donors are unbelievably generous, but our board members want to raise as much money for students as we possibly can.”

To learn more about the Arlington Chapter of Dollars For Scholars, log onto www.arlingtondfs.org.

 

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