St. John Women Invited to Apply for Rutnik College Scholarships

Ruby Rutnik

Young women of St. John who are enrolled in college or who plan to attend this fall are invited to apply for a Ruby Rutnik Scholarship.

Now in its 23rd year, the scholarship fund awards up to $5,000 to qualified female students in honor of Ruby Rutnik, a senior at American University who died in a car accident in 1996. Heartbroken by their tragedy but resilient in spirit, her family organized a softball tournament in 1997 for female high school students throughout the Virgin Islands as a way to fund the scholarship.

In 2014, the Rutnik family decided to end the tournaments and use the funds already raised to establish an endowment through the Gifft Hill School on St. John. This is especially appropriate as Ruby was one of the original preschool students when the school was founded as the Pine Peace School in 1978.

The goal of the scholarship is to ease the burden of paying for higher education, especially for those attending colleges and universities off island. Since its inception, the fund has awarded a total of more than $170,000 to more than three dozen recipients. Last year’s winners were Kaitlyn Cummings, now a junior at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, Fla., and Vela Culbert, a sophomore at Goucher College near Baltimore, Md.

Applications may be picked up at Connections in Cruz Bay or Coral Bay, or by contacting the Rutniks at 693-8069. Applications are also available at the upper campus of Gifft Hill School and Eudora Kean High School.

The deadline for submission is May 17. Notice will be given on or before June 4.

Those wishing to contribute to the scholarship fund are asked to make their checks payable to Gifft Hill School, noting RRSF on the bottom of the check, and mail to GHS, PO Box 1657, St. John, VI 00831.

Eligibility Requirements for Ruby Rutnik Scholarship:

A St. John female who is a high school graduate in good standing whose family or self has resided on St. John for five years or more and who is in need of financial assistance; or a female student, same as above, already attending a college or university in good standing.

Only students accepted by an accredited college or university will be considered.

Criteria for scholarship awards are, primarily, academic excellence and financial need. The latter will be the deciding factor when choosing between students of equal academic standing.

All applicants must submit:
A completed, signed application form and counselor’s evaluation form
Two (2) letters of recommendation (see Part I, Item 15), no longer than one page each
A record of extracurricular activities and employment, if any
A one-page essay on career goals
An official transcript of high school grades and SAT scores
A license, passport or school ID photo (optional)
Copies of college or university acceptance letters
A copy of all parent/guardian 2018 tax returns (Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ)

Students currently attending colleges or universities must submit transcripts of post-secondary grades to date as well as information about financial loans and awards that they may be receiving. An interview may be requested.

Note: A scholarship will be withdrawn if a recipient ceases full-time attendance at an accredited college or university or fails to maintain satisfactory grades for more than one marking period. It is the responsibility of each recipient to arrange for a transcript of her grades to be sent to the Scholarship Fund at the end of each semester.