Mildred Mumford knew that education was the key to success.
Mumford endowed the Abington Heights Student Aid Fund (AHSAF) and the Waverly Woman's Club with annual scholarship grants in 1952 as a way to help local students achieve their dreams of going to college, despite their financial situation.
This past week, the AHSAF opened applications for the fund's 61st year. According to AHSAF president Marty Wynn, the fund has continued to grow since its inception, including both scholarships and student loans.
"The Mildred Mumford Award is still in place today and is offered yearly," he said. "After the fund was established, there were other endowed scholarships that were added that were able to be funded by an annual fundraiser, interest earned on principal and replenishing the fund yearly with loan payments."
In order to continue to offer scholarships and awards in the form of loans, the AHSAF has a policy of not offering loans or scholarships if they haven't received interest income or loan repayments that can cover the loans or scholarships the group offers.
One Abington Heights student that the AHSAF has helped is Michael Le of South Abington Twp. Le graduated from the University of Scranton and is currently a medical student at Drexel University in Philadelphia.
"This scholarship truly means a lot to me, not because it aids in the expenses of college, but because it signifies accomplshment and recognition," Le said. "My parents emigrated from Vietnam after the war. They came without a penny in their pockets and life was tough for them. They have always told me to do my best in everything I do and to study hard so that one day I might be recognized for it."
Each scholarship offered by the AHSAF has a specific set of criteria that must be met prior to consideration. All applicants must have a seven semester grade-point average of 85 percent or higher.
Like Le, Wynn believes that the fund helps students realize what they were able to achieve while in high school.
"I have learned the way the fund worked and have seen that the fund was not just a means of providing some monetary help to needy students," he said. "It was a source of recognition of students that had excelled over their high school careers but who had never received recognition in the form of a scholarship.
"I have seen over the years how much the recognition meant on the faces of the recipients at the awards ceremony at the end of the school year," he continued. "I know that the amounts given in scholarships are small in comparison to the total cost of tuition but I also realize that any aid was helpful and appreciated by the students."
Donations to the AHSAF may be sent to the fund in care of Jim Gavigan, treasurer, P.O. Box 135, Clarks Summit, Pa. 18411.
For more information on the Abington Heights Student Aid Fund, including how to apply for scholarships, visit www.ahsaf.org.