Wellington’s Education Committee discussed a new environmental scholarship being offered by the village and its waste services provider, Waste Management, on Tuesday.
The scholarships, ranging from $1,000 to $1,500, will be offered to graduating seniors at Palm Beach Central and Wellington high schools who plan to attend a four-year college or university. The deadline for applications is Friday, April 15.
Community Services Director James Poag said he wanted to clarify how the scholarship will be distributed since the committee will not meet again until August.
“If the committee is going to be involved in the selection process regarding the awardees, we need to develop a process,” he said.
Poag said that Waste Management would provide the applications to the guidance counselors, who would then collect the applications.
“However, you have a situation now in which this is your April meeting,” he said. “You will not meet again in order to form a committee to select the applicants who will receive the scholarships. Therefore, the committee will need to make the decision on how it would like the process to work.”
Poag said he had spoken with Waste Management Government Affairs Director Ellen Smith, who had no particular preference on how the recipients are selected.
“Those are decisions you have to make this evening on how this process is going to work,” Poag said, including how to work with the schools and Waste Management. “We need the committee to decide how to do that in this special circumstance.”
Committee Chair Marcia Hayden said that based on the information Poag had sent committee members, the high schools would receive the applications by April 15 and the top 10 candidates’ information would be forwarded to the Education Committee by May 2 so that by May 13, the recipients would be chosen.
Committee Member Michelle McGovern said she would favor nominating a member of the committee to work with Smith to decide.
“There’s not another meeting until August, which is frustrating in itself, but I think it’s fine if we just decide amongst ourselves one person to go through the applications for this year, and then next year we’ll all do it,” McGovern said. “It’s tremendous that Waste Management does this in the first place.”
Committee members nominated Hayden to go through the applications this year and work with Poag to receive the applications and forward a short list to Waste Management.
The environmental scholarships were established by the village and Waste Management to encourage Wellington students to pursue educational paths that support environmental stewardship.
Each school will receive a $1,500 and a $1,000 scholarship for students demonstrating excellence in the classroom and the community. Waste Management will send the awards directly to the winners’ college via its financial aid office.
In 2016, four winners will be selected, two from Wellington High School and two from Palm Beach Central High School.
Smith said that Waste Management was glad to find new ways to help make Wellington clean and green.
“We run clean-fuel trucks in the Village of Wellington,” she said. “We are the only hauler of municipal waste that can say that, keeping it quieter with less emissions for the residents of Wellington.”