Local School Updates

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Nonprofit provides interest-free loans for higher education to Jewish students in need

JELF (Jewish Educational Loan Fund) has been assisting the Jewish community since 1889 when the doors of the Hebrew Orphans’ Home first opened in Atlanta, Ga.

Since, then the organization has transformed twice: first, in 1931, when it began providing adoption and foster care services under the name Jewish Children’s Service (JCS), and then, in 1961, when the organization began awarding interest-free loans for college and other forms of higher education. In 1989, the organization’s name was changed to JELF.

Since 1961 JELF has awarded $12 million across the five-state region of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia (excluding metro-DC).

In South Florida, JELF has been making loans to students for 55 years and has more than $1 million invested in the hands of local students.

In 2017, JELF awarded a total of $1,000,046 to 273 students. JELF made loans to 19 students from Palm Beach County in 2017 (and $260,000 throughout South Florida alone!) totaling $90,166.

This figure represents more money to more students than ever before (as a comparison to 2007, JELF granted loans to 121 students for a total of $604,709). This increase in demand is a direct result of the cost of a public education rising 33 percent over the last 10 years alone, and a private education rising 26 percent, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. This increase has risen faster than the rate of inflation, creating a lack of resources for families who did not previously have need but now do, based on today’s standards.

JELF’s last-dollar lending policy is designed to serve students who would otherwise have to take out high-interest loans, incur large credit card balances or simply forego their higher education completely. While JELF often serves students who have faced sad situations during their lives, many recipients simply come from middle class families who are struggling to pay for the increased cost of higher education.

In March, JELF hosted a cocktail reception at Farmer’s Table. At the reception, guests learned about JELF’s value firsthand through stories from several guests, including a woman in her 30’s who attended the University of Florida and is currently repaying her JELF loans, an alum in his late-30s, now an attorney who gives back to the organization, and the mother of a recipient who is currently attending Columbia University, set to graduate this May. JELF is committed to helping students attend undergrad, as well as graduate and vocational/technical school.

JELF has two application periods each year: March 1 – April 30 for the full upcoming school year (fall, spring & summer); and September 1 – 30 for the following spring and/or summer terms.

For more information about applying for JELF or to make a donation, visit jelf.org or send an email to info@jelf.org.

Eda and Cliff Viner Community Scholars Foundation partners with Florida Prepaid College Foundation

Eda and Cliff Viner Community Scholars Foundation announces their partnership with the Florida Prepaid College Foundation.

The partnership will grant a 4-year university plan scholarship to a local Boca or Delray student named the Florida Prepaid Legacy Match. The arrangement includes a match of funds totaling in $26,000 from both the Viner’s Scholars Foundation and Florida Prepaid Foundation.

The student that is chosen must comply with the merit and need based criteria as well as be attending a public, Florida college or university. To qualify for the Florida Prepaid Legacy Match Scholarship, students must have a 3.0 unweighted GPA or higher, complete 100 or more hours of community service and have a substantial financial need. As part of the scholarship, students must participate in an extensive mentoring program and will be given access to the Viner Community Partners that provide social services and support for scholars.

With the help of the Florida Prepaid Legacy Match scholarship, the Viner Scholars Foundation  is looking forward to funding an additional student in addition to the 25-30 they will accept this year.

Comcast awards $27,000 in college scholarships to local students

Through its Leaders and Achievers® Scholarship, Comcast recognized Palm Beach County students’ achievements in and out of the classroom by awarding $27,000 of college scholarships to 27 Palm Beach County students.

The program, funded by the Comcast Foundation, is a one-time, $1,000 scholarship awarded to the best and brightest high school seniors for their community service, academic performance and leadership skills.  Since 2001, more than $28 million has been awarded to nearly 27,000 high school seniors across the country as part of the Leaders and Achievers Program.

In Delray and Boca, recipients include:

Sage Albert of Boca Raton, Alexander W. Dreyfoos Jr. School of the Arts

Gabriela Alvarez Perez of Lake Worth, Florida Atlantic University High School

Tieshe Arne of Delray Beach, Village Academy School on the Art and Sara Jo Kobacker Campus

Jason Brackett of Boca Raton, Spanish River Community High School

Lauren Brown of Boca Raton, Palm Beach Virtual School

Kaylee Cunningham of Boca Raton, Olympics Heights Community High School

Eva Demsky of Boca Raton, Donna Klein Jewish Academy

Myrline Germain of Delray Beach, Atlantic Community High School

Lauren Morejon of Boca Raton, Boca Raton Community High School

Julia Ornelas of Boca Raton, West Boca Raton Community High School

Dozens of county students earn National Merit Scholarships

This year, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation recognized over 30 Palm Beach County senior students in their annual National Merit Scholarship Program. After rigorous SAT testing and scholarship applications, the most distinguished high school seniors are awarded scholarships in one of three categories: Corporate-Sponsored Scholarships, National Merit $2,500 Scholarships, or College-Sponsored Scholarships.

In Boca and Delray, 11 students took home scholarships. Winners attended Boca Raton High School, West Boca High School, Spanish River High School and Atlantic High School.

Congresswoman Lois Frankel hosts military academy send-off

Congresswoman Lois Frankel invited seven local students who will be attending military academies next year to a send-off at her Boca Raton office last month.

The students will be attending academies including the Naval Academy and the Air Force Academy. Rep. Frankel gave each student a commemorative coin and spoke with them about their achievements and goals for the future.