A local woman's brainchild, Oneonta Dollars for Scholars, distributed more than $42,500 in awards to graduating seniors this June. Now, it's her turn to be recognized.
Carol Baker, of Oneonta, was recently named Dollars for Scholars Volunteer of the Year in the Northeast area, according to a recent media release from Scholarship America.
"I'm most appreciative, honored and overwhelmed," Baker said, of winning the award. "I think it's the culmination of 23 years of the Dollars for Scholars program evolving."
More than 23 years ago, while working as a guidance counselor at Oneonta High School, Baker recognized a need for an organization to help students finance their post-secondary education.
"We needed an avenue through which people, companies and organizations could donate toward scholarships," Baker said. "I see it as a lasting way for the community to support its students."
After she contacted Citizens' Scholarship Foundation of America, now Scholarship America, an Oneonta chapter of Dollars for Scholars was born, and has thrived ever since.
Baker was a member of the original Oneonta Dollars for Scholars board and is still an active member and driving force in the local organization, the release said. She has served three terms as president and is now the awards program chairwoman.
“We are so proud of Carol and so thankful for her dedication, hard work and passion for Oneonta Dollars for Scholars,” said Jacqueline Rowe, current president of Oneonta Dollars for Scholars. “This award validates that she is, without question, an asset to this community.”
When the ladies on the Dollars for Scholars board told Baker they had nominated her for the award, Baker's response showed her dedication to the program.
"I said, wait a minute, we don't have time for this! We have all this work to do for the awards program coming up," Baker said. "But they said, 'we're doing it.' I was honored that they would go to that extent because there was an extensive application process."