My Experience with Scholarships and Advice for Student Applicants by Ann Siciliano

Who: Amanda, our Director of Marketing and Program Initiatives, sat down with Ann Siciliano, Director of Program Services.


The Community Foundation is in scholarship season which means eligible students are applying for school funding. Preparing for college is scary enough, but we want student applicants to know that our staff is here for them. We want to give students the support they need to pursue their education. Learn more about our scholarships and read what Ann has to say below! 



Amanda: What kind of impacts have you seen over the years with the program?

Ann: I guess the impacts I’ve seen are many times for not just first generation students but for a lot of students that without the opportunity to have the scholarship money for them they would not have been able to finish school. They have written us and told us that. They have come by to visit. I have seen them out and about in the community. Many of the ones I run into relay that the impact it had and the burden that it lifted from them to be able to study and not work as much while they went to school. And it really kept them in school.

Amanda: Do you have a favorite memory of your time doing scholarships?

Ann: I think there is one student that comes to mind. He was one of our Early Ace scholarship recipients in the early years of that fund. There is a GPA requirement for that scholarship. It is a renewable scholarship but you need to keep a 3.0 GPA. If you don’t, you get one semester of grace before you are not renewed. So this student had had his semester of grace. He floundered a bit his freshman year. Sophomore year, he didn’t apply himself as well and he floundered again. So the scholarship was not renewed for the rest of that year. It was devastating to the student because he did have financial need and he was desperate to continue. It was expected in his family that he would get his degree. They were supportive but he needed the money. We didn’t award it that year and it was a hard thing to do. But he got tutoring help, got the support that he needed to be successful. He worked with his advisors more, worked with his professors more, and turned his GPA around the next semester and it was stellar. It was stellar from then on until he graduated. So of course his scholarship was renewed. He came in and thanked us because it was the kick in the pants that he needed. He is now applying to PA school and has been so successful. I have seen him out in the community and he is just so appreciative of the opportunity that we gave him and that we also helped him get on the right foot and do what he needed to do to be successful. So that is one of my favorite memories.

Amanda: What kind of things do you look for in the application when you receive them?

Ann: Many of them are requiring demonstrated financial need. So an award notification from the school that truly these students need the financial assistance because they qualify for federal or state or institutional money. So there is a need there. We look for that for many of them. A lot of them it is academic performance. What is their GPA? Some of them it is a community involvement. How many activities have they been involved in or what sorts of activities? Leadership roles within those activities are important to many scholarship donors. They want to see a tendency or an aptitude for leadership. For others it is a particular area of study. Are they going to study agriculture? Are they studying horticulture? Do they want to study math or business or STEM majors? It is a particular major or field of study that the donors are looking for, for that particular scholarship. For others, for one in particular, it is strictly merit-based. How strong is the academic profile for the student and are they going to pursue a particular major, which in that case is education. They want the strongest student. They don’t care if they need financial assistance or not, they are rewarding the accomplishments of that particular student who is going to pursue an education major. So it really varies depending on the scholarship.

Amanda: Last question, do you have any advice for the student applicants this year?

Ann: Don’t wait until the last minute to submit your application. Be sure to ask the people who need to submit letters of reference for your transcript for you. Give them plenty of time to do that. Take a lot of time to think about what is interesting about you or different about you as you answer your questions. It makes you unique so that the committee can see that as they read applications. Pay attention to detail because the committees notice.

To learn more and apply for scholarships from The Community Foundation, visit:

Questions for Ann may be directed to: [email protected] or give us a call at 540-432-3863.

2023 Scholarships Now Available

2023 Student Scholarships now Available

Harrisonburg-Rockingham students may now apply for college funding from The Community Foundation of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County (TCFHR) until April 10, 2023. The majority of scholarships give to current or former residents of Harrisonburg or Rockingham County. Scholarship funds are for tuition and related educational expenses and made directly to the educational institution. In 2022, TCFHR distributed 63 scholarships totaling $229,800. Scholarship awards ranged from $500 to $8,000.

The Community Foundation makes it easy for students to apply, providing an online application for students’ convenience. The online system will allow students to work on application in their own time, save their progress, and return to submit their application.

The Community Foundation works with donors to establish merit based and financial aid based scholarships for high school, community college, and university students. Each scholarship expresses a deep belief in the power of education to help students achieve their academic dreams.

Interested students can go to to learn more and apply by April 10, 2023. For questions, contact Ann Siciliano at [email protected] or 540-432-3863.

About The Community Foundation of Harrisonburg & Rockingham County 

TCFHR makes charitable giving easy, acting in the best interest of our donors and partners to facilitate bold philanthropic initiatives for a stronger, healthier community.

Community Foundation Scholarship Application Window Open!

The Community Foundation of Harrisonburg & Rockingham County (TCFHR) is excited to offer a new online system for scholarship applications. Students may access the new system to determine eligibility to apply for 2022 scholarship awards. TCFHR provides a variety of scholarship opportunities for students seeking to receive financial assistance as they prepare for college or graduate school. TCFHR also has one award specifically for high school juniors (application deadline May 9)!

Some scholarship awards are merit-based, some financial need based, others focus on a particular area of study, while some are specific to high school athletes. Some awards are for students graduating from certain high schools, one for students whose parents are employed at a specified list of golf clubs throughout the United States, and another specifically for high school coaches or athletic directors in the Shenandoah Valley who wish to nominate a track athlete. TCFHR also offers a scholarship specifically for students transferring from BRCC or LFCC to a 4-year university, and one for students doing graduate level work at EMU.

The Community Foundation offers 19 different scholarship opportunities through the new online system. We encourage students, track coaches or athletic directors to explore what might be available to them. Deadline for almost all applications is April 11.

CLICK HERE to determine eligibility to apply!

2021 Community Foundation Scholarship Awards Announced

The Community Foundation of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County celebrates another successful year working with donors in providing scholarships to students in our local area. Over $245,000 in scholarship were given to students of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. Congratulations to all 2021 scholarship recipients! For the list of students, please visit our 2021 Scholarship Awards page.

TCFHR believes education is the key to a bright future. TCFHR administers a variety of merit based and aid scholarship programs that grant more than $200,000 annually to high school, community college and university students. The majority of our scholarships are designated for current or former residents of Harrisonburg or Rockingham County. Scholarships are made for tuition and related educational expenses and are paid directly to the educational institution.

Merit based and financial aid scholarships are established by generous local individuals, corporations or organizations to assist students with their educational pursuits. Often scholarships are created in the name of the donor or by families who wish to memorialize a loved one. Other financial aid scholarships have been established by individuals who simply want to extend a helping hand for college-bound students. Each scholarship expresses a deep belief in the power of education to help students achieve their academic dreams.

For more information on how to establish a scholarship with TCFHR, visit or call us at 540-432-3863.

2018 Scholarship Recipients

The Community Foundation of Harrisonburg & Rockingham County recently distributed 59 scholarship awards. In total, $172,030 was awarded to fifty-nine students from 23 different scholarship funds. Most of the recipients were local high school seniors, although one was a high school junior, another was a graduate student,  and one scholarship provided funding for community college transfer students. Types of scholarships vary in nature – some are financial need based, others are based on academic merit, while some are for students pursuing specific college majors, such as education, horticulture, agriculture, science or math.


The application window for next year’s scholarships opens in October 2018. Visit the scholarship section of our website to see a complete list and learn more about the scholarships we offer. If you are a high school junior, read about an award specifically for you – Award for High School Juniors. Check our Scholarship Frequently Asked Questions for general assistance, or contact Ann in our offices directly (540-432-3863) with specific questions you may have.


Click here to see the list of 2018 Scholarship Recipients.



SOS Foundation Awards First Scholarship Grants

It was a special night to remember and rejoice when SOS Foundation President Yancey Ford presented our charity’s first scholarship grants to three very deserving and appreciative young students during the annual SOS Dinner at the Innisbrook Golf Resort.


The SOS Foundation was created earlier this year as a certified 501-(c)(3) charity charged with the sole purpose of providing college scholarship assistance to the academically-qualified children of staff personnel working at clubs that host SOS competitions. To date, the SOS members have contributed $35,000 to the Foundation.


Two of the 2017 recipients of the $2,500 scholarships are long-time good friends McKenna Chefero and Hannah Murphy, both of whom are now sophomores at the University of South Florida.  The third recipient is Madison Duncan-Diejuste, who attends Palm Beach State College.


Ms. Chefero’s father, Paul, works in Banquet Management at the Innisbrook Resort. Ms. Murphy’s  mother, Nancy, is a senior sales manager at Innisbrook. Ms. Duncan-Diejuste’s mother, Kristina, shares duties in the Quail Ridge CC golf shop and locker room.


Yancey Ford proudly introduced the three scholarship recipients to the broad and highly-enthusiastic SOS Membership in attendance at the Dinner, and all three young ladies eloquently thanked Yancey and the SOS Foundation for its commitment to education.


McKenna Chefero is majoring in Entrepreneurship at South Florida; she is focusing on business management with a minor in Leadership Studies. “Someday I hope to own my own non-profit,” she says. In high school, McKenna played on the varsity golf team as a senior and she dabbles in golf with a Club Team at South Florida. “I really appreciate what the Society of Seniors Foundation has done for me,” she says. “This scholarship means a whole lot to me and to my family.”


Hannah Murphy is majoring in Criminology and aspires to attend Law School and become a Defense Attorney. “When I was in high school I used to babysit for Jessica Lowe, National Golf Sales Manager,” Hannah says. “She told my mother all about the SOS Foundation Scholarship. We filled out all the paperwork and I did the interview with the Society of Seniors Scholarship Committee on Skype. It was a great day when I received the call telling me that I’d be getting the $2,500 scholarship.”


Madison Duncan-Diejuste attends Palm Beach State College and aspires to earn a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. “My mother is a single parent of four children,” she says, “and I am the third to attend college. The SOS Foundation Scholarship is a big help for me and for my family. I cannot thank the SOS enough for its gracious generosity.”


The SOS Foundation thanks those SOS members who have already donated to the Foundation. In announcing the formation and the purpose of the Foundation, the charity’s Board suggested that SOS members donate an annual minimum of $100 to the Foundation over a three-year period so that the Foundation could become self-sustaining by the year 2020.


At this time a number of SOS members have made long-term commitments to the Foundation through annual giving, transfers of stock and plans to include the Foundation in their wills. Indeed, some TK SOS members made an initial gift to the Foundation of $1000 or more.


Before the New Year, the SOS Foundation will once again reach out to the SOS membership with information as to how members can make a gift to the Foundation. Thanks in no small part to the very gracious and touching remarks from McKenna, Hannah and Madison at the Annual Dinner, the Foundation knows it is on the right track.


Society of Seniors

1570 West First Ave.

Columbus, OH 43212



Early Ace Scholarships Awarded

The Early Ace Scholarship Fund was established to support students graduating from public high schools in the cities of Harrisonburg, Staunton and Waynesboro, and the counties of Rockingham, Augusta and Shenandoah. Candidates are students planning to continue their education at a four-year public college in Virginia. Preference is given to students planning to work toward a bachelor’s degree with a science, engineering or business major. Preference may also be given to first generation college students.


The selection committee interviewed students and considered the following criteria:

  • Demonstrated financial need
  • Academic performance
  • Character and drive to succeed
  • Field of study/Chosen career path


Once of the unique components of this scholarship is the requirement to meet and work with a mentor throughout college. The Community Foundation staff works with the recipient’s college/university to assist in the selection of the mentor. Recipients of the Early Ace Scholarship are expected to maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA while being enrolled full-time. Recipients of the award may renew the scholarship for all four years of college, if meeting the criteria for renewal.


2017 Early Ace Scholarships were awarded to:


William Lam (Central High School) – attending Virginia Tech University

Iain Slater (Turner Ashby High School) – attending James Madison University

Nicole Young (Stuarts Draft High School) – attending James Madison University


Claude & Frances Warren Scholarship Awarded

Claude E. Warren was devoted to athletics in Harrisonburg. From 1932 through 1971 Claude Warren was the “face” of athletics at HHS. He served as football, basketball, baseball, and track coach from 1932 until the early 1960s, continuing as Physical Education teacher and Athletic Director until his retirement in 1971.


Coach Warren was known for his belief in fundamentals and high standards of personal conduct. He influenced thousands of students including a former athlete, quoted by the Daily News-Record in 1957 following an appreciation dinner to celebrate Warren’s 25 years of coaching, who said, “I know of no other persons, aside from my parents, along my school route who did more to prepare me for this ‘game of life’ than did Coach Warren. You can’t turn your back on his records at HHS, but what really counts now that I look back on my days as a Blue Streak was his coaching philosophy. Call it character-building or call it anything you like, I know what he gave to me along the route.”


In 1961, Harrisonburg High School’s new field house was named in his honor. He appreciated a very supportive wife, Frances, who supported him throughout his career. When the new Harrisonburg High School was built in 2005, the entire sports complex was named, the Claude E. Warren Sports Complex.


The purpose of the Claude & Frances Warren Scholarship Fund is to support scholarships for Harrisonburg High School students. Eligible candidates are students planning to compete in an intercollegiate sport, or in a post-graduate year preparing to compete in an intercollegiate sport. Special consideration was given to students also planning to pursue a degree in an athletic related field of study (athletic training, athletic coaching, health administration, health education, physical education, or kinesiology), or to students planning to coach and teach. In addition, the Selection Committee considered:

  • Financial Need
  • GPA
  • Character, determination and leadership qualities


The recipient of the 2017 Claude & Frances Warren Scholarship is Casey Wilson. Casey will compete as a swimmer when she attends Roanoke College in the fall.


W.P. and T.M. Phillips Memorial Scholarships Awarded

The W.P. and T.M. Phillips Memorial Scholarship was established by Mrs. Thelma M. Phillips in memory of her late husband, William “Bill” Phillips, to honor his love of farming. Thelma and Bill spent a lifetime together enjoying farm life and working in agribusiness. This scholarship provides support to students who wish to continue the farming tradition which Bill and Thelma loved so much.


Students eligible to receive this scholarship will be pursuing a college degree in the field of agriculture. Scholarships are awarded on a competitive basis to applicants who graduate from one of the following local high schools:

Broadway High School
Harrisonburg High School
Stonewall Jackson High School

Consideration was given to the student’s academic record, chosen college major, leadership qualities, and involvement in activities related to agriculture. This is a renewable award.


2017 recipients of the W.P. and T.M. Phillips Memorial Scholarship are:

Kayla Chandler (Broadway High School)

William Lohr (Broadway High School)

Michaela Loving (Broadway High School)

Emory & Henry College Scholarship Awarded

This scholarship was established by David W. Driver to provide financial assistance to students attending his alma mater, Emory & Henry College. This scholarship will be awarded annually for four years at $1,000 per year to a qualified incoming Emory & Henry College student.


Students eligible for this award must be graduating from any high school located in Harrisonburg, Virginia or Rockingham County. Consideration for the award is based on academic performance, demonstration of good character, self-motivation, leadership qualities and community involvement.


This scholarship is to support the student for their four-year education at Emory & Henry College as long as the student maintains satisfactory academic standing, preferably with a GPA of 2.5 or better on a scale of 4.0, and a minimum term GPA of 2.0.


The 2017 Emory & Henry College Scholarship was awarded to Zach Myers of Spotswood High School.