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Published: Thursday, 8/12/2010

Owens offers tuition aid to Lake's grads

BY DENNIS HOWE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Wednesday was a good day for Lake High School.

Not only did Owens Community College decide to extend its Success Program scholarships to Lake graduates from the class of 2010, but a supply drive for the new school began in earnest.

The Success Program benefits any student who qualifies for partial federal financial aid in the form of a Pell Grant.

The program bridges the gap between the federal grant money a student receives and the full cost of an Owens education, up to the cost of tuition and general fees.

Students must have graduated from high school, matriculated at Owens for the fall after their graduation, and register full time with 12 or more credits to be eligible.

"We wanted to offer the students who suffered this tragedy the opportunity to go to college," said Ann Savage, executive director of the Owens College Foundation. "It's one way to reach out to these students while they're going through this tragedy."

Classes begin Monday, so students have this week to register, Ms. Savage said. Qualifying students already registered for Owens get the pleasant surprise of a full scholarship.

The Success Program began in 2008, when it applied to qualifying graduates of Findlay and Woodward high schools.

In 2009, it was expanded to include all students of Toledo Public Schools and Washington Local Schools.

Last week, it was expanded again to graduates of all public schools in Hancock County.

Lake High School is the most recent beneficiary.

"It's just another act of generosity that they've extended to us that we're grateful for," said Jim Witt, superintendent of Lake Local Schools. "We hope our students take advantage of it."

Meanwhile, Lake High School's supply drive kicked off Wednesday with donation centers in four locations around the Toledo area.

The drive, sponsored by The Blade, its media partner WTOL-TV, Channel 11, and BCSN, comes in the wake of the school's destruction in the June 5 tornado.

"My phone has been ringing off the hook all day," said Jodi Takats, Lake director of curriculum and special education, who is coordinating the drive. "I have 68 messages that I still haven't even listened to yet."

Many of the calls have come from companies such as Jones Hamilton and AB&B Ergonomics, asking what they can donate.

Others have come from schools. Owens has donated 25 microscopes, and Lourdes College has offered resources from its library. Bowling Green State University has donated an entire dining hall's worth of furniture.

One woman even donated a piano for the school's music program.

At Owens' Center for Development and Training building, the temporary location for Lake High School and one of the four donation centers, Ms. Takats stood beside cardboard boxes filled with rulers, erasers, pencils, looseleaf paper, notebooks, and other materials.

She said that between 25 and 30 people had stopped by during the day to drop them off.

The most urgent need, said Ms. Takats, is for artwork.

"We really need someone to do the painting and the drywalling," she said. "We don't have the funds to have that done.

"I want Lake stuff on the walls and on the floor," Ms. Takats said. "You walk into our old building, and you know where you are. We need to put our artwork up and make this more of a home."

Contact Dennis Howe at:

dhowe@theblade.com

or 419-724-6050.



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