Spirit of a Forester Scholarship Competition

Sixty-eight high school seniors from around the country attended the Huntington University Spirit of a Forester Scholarship Competition on Saturday, February 17. The competition is an invitation-only event for which HU-admitted high school seniors qualify with a 3.7 grade point average or higher and compete for four-year scholarships ranging from $16,000 to full tuition. 

During the Saturday competition, finalists participated in interviews with HU faculty and staff and an extemporaneous writing session. Bonus points that counted toward the overall score were available for additional projects based on the seven traits collectively called the Spirit of a Forester: chasing truth, defying complacency, remaining curious, caring completely, embracing interconnectedness, having grit and exploring creativity. 

“I submitted extra credit for [defying] complacency,” said student Katie Bolinger. “In the last year, I’ve tried to grow and make changes to make sure I'm growing in my faith and to not be stagnant.”

Her father, Brian Bolinger, offered a parent’s perspective on the scholarship competition and what it means for families of future Foresters.

“Knowing that there's other people who are specifically donating to grow the next Forester, I think it makes you feel the need to use it more than other scholarships,” he said. “It makes it more meaningful knowing that it's coming from somebody who wants to invest in the future generation.”

Parents were invited to attend a panel discussion consisting of HU’s president and senior leaders. The discussion focused on HU’s commitment to its mission and how that mission shapes strategic initiatives, how those initiatives benefit HU students and how HU offers a value that is worth the costs.

Scholarships offered through the Spirit of a Forester Scholarship Competition are a part of that value, making the HU experience possible for new generations of students.

“I'm a pastor,” said Steve Boyd, whose son Brian took part in the competition, as he reflected on how a scholarship would impact his family. “We’ve already made sacrifices to not be in the corporate world and choose to follow God's calling. We will have two kids in college in the next two years. So it obviously would mean a lot; it would be just great!”

Volunteer faculty, staff and HU students made the scholarship competition possible by setting up spaces around campus, greeting students and parents, planning and support, completing interviews and reviewing essays and extra credit packages.

Student Heavyn Craft, when asked how she felt about the competition and how it went for her, said, “I feel like it went well. It was very smooth. Everyone's super nice. Honestly, they took extra care of us. They made sure that we weren't nervous, and they just wanted to help.”

For Craft and her peers, the scholarship competition is a significant step toward a bright future that is only just beginning.

“For me to win even the smallest of scholarships would mean everything,” she said, adding that “being able to just go to school and not have to worry about the financial aspect of it, being able to just get my education and then focus on everything else that comes after that” would be a blessing.

As Craft and others noted, this is the true goal of the Spirit of a Forester Scholarship Competition: To help students pursue their calling at Huntington University and impact the world for Christ through scholarship and service.