The first recipients of the HPCA scholarship, Riverwood students Rosa Moctezuma and Xavier Palacios, with HPCA Board Member Brittany Charron and (then) Riverwood Principal Charles Gardner.

The High Point Civic Association is asking for the public’s help to make its largest scholarship awards ever to two students at Riverwood International Charter School.

Since 2018, the community organization has supported two students from the Sandy Springs high school. They must also have attended either Ridgeview Middle or High Point Elementary School, said James Duffy Hickey, High Point’s president. Those Fulton County schools serve the immediate High Point neighborhood, which is in Sandy Springs, south of I-285 and east of Roswell Road.

“In 2018, we, the board, decided to give … a very small stipend of $500 to two kids from Riverwood and the goal was to identify a male and a female who were Title 1 students,” he said. “We know this isn’t going to pay tuition. It might help buy some books. These days, especially some of the Title I kids, they’re very happy to get whatever help they can get.”

The board reached out to Riverwood’s college counselor, Roxi Garber, who happens to be an association member and Hickey’s neighbor.

“She really welcomed us with open arms four or five years ago. And she’s the one who helps us determine who the worthy students are,” he said.

Students must apply for the scholarship through the counselor’s office. Garber chooses the scholarship recipients. Hickey said the award also is based on the student’s GPA.

“For two years, we provided $500 to each of the two students. And then, and then, you know, some really smart person on our board said, ‘Why don’t we invite other people to donate?’ So we did that,” he said.

In 2020, they offered $1,000 scholarships. For the class of 2021, two association members who wanted to remain anonymous challenged the group to raise $2,000. If they were successful, the pair would add $1,000 each.

That challenge was met, and for 2021, the association had approximately $4,500 for the scholarships.

The association kicks in some funding each year, with at least $1,000 promised for the class of 2022. Most of the donations have come from board members and other members of the High Point community.

“This year, we have another anonymous donor who’s offered $1,000 based on two conditions. One was that every board member contributed at least something,” Hickey said.

Now, the group is hoping for the public’s help. The association will accept contributions for the scholarships from May 1 through April of the following year.

“Whatever we get down to the penny will go to the students,” he said.

The association accepts contributions through its website at highpointcivic.org. Click on the membership tab for a drop-down list that says “Contribute to the Fund.” Or they can write a check and send it to the High Point Civic Association at P.O. Box 4202162, Sandy Springs, GA 30342.

The association is a 501(c)(4), so contributions are not tax-deductible.

Hickey anticipates contributions reaching $6,000, which would mean a $3,000 scholarship for each student.

Most of the scholarship recipients so far have been of Hispanic heritage, he said. They generally attend Georgia Perimeter College, Georgia State University or Kennesaw State University.

The scholarship program has given association board members a sense of mission and giving, Hickey added.

Bob Pepalis

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Reporter Newspapers.