Busi­ness­woman helps fund col­lege ‘fast-track’ for high school­ers

Schol­ar­ships will help fund LCCC’s Early Col­lege pro­gram

The Morning Call - - LOCAL NEWS - By Jacque­line Palochko Morning Call re­porter Jacque­line Palochko can be reached at 610-820-6613 or at [email protected]

High school stu­dents work­ing on as­so­ciate de­grees at Le­high Car­bon Com­mu­nity Col­lege can now re­ceive ex­tended fi­nan­cial sup­port from Lisa Scheller, a busi­ness­woman and po­ten­tial con­gres­sional can­di­date.

LCCC of­fi­cials and Scheller an­nounced Tues­day a schol­ar­ship cov­er­ing tu­ition for high school­ers in the nine Le­high County school dis­tricts and at Ta­maqua who are part of LCCC’s Early Col­lege pro­gram.

The pro­gram al­lows stu­dents to take col­lege-level cour­ses dur­ing their ju­nior and se­nior years of high school, and then re­ceive a gen­eral stud­ies as­so­ciate de­gree after two years while they also re­ceive their high school diploma. That as­so­ciate de­gree can be trans­ferred to a four-year col­lege to al­low stu­dents to con­tinue their stud­ies. The pro­gram puts stu­dents on the “fast-track” for col­lege by al­low­ing them to save time and money.

The schol­ar­ships, start­ing in fall 2020, will cover tu­ition for the en­tire de­gree, which is val­ued at $3,300. It’s un­known how many schol­ar­ships will be given out. The schol­ar­ship will be avail­able to stu­dents who show fi­nan­cial need by qual­i­fy­ing for free and re­duced lunch.

The new of­fer ex­pands the fi­nan­cial sup­port that Scheller has al­ready pro­vided LCCC stu­dents. In 2014, the Lisa Jane Scheller Tech­nol­ogy Schol­ar­ship was formed for stu­dents from Le­high Ca­reer and Tech­ni­cal In­sti­tute and Car­bon Ca­reer and Tech­ni­cal In­sti­tute. Forty stu­dents have ben­e­fited from that schol­ar­ship since 2014.

A Ta­maqua na­tive who lives in Al­len­town, Scheller is pres­i­dent and chair­woman of Sil­ber­line Man­u­fac­tur­ing, which makes alu­minum pig­ments.

Repub­li­can Scheller, a for­mer Le­high County com­mis­sioner, has hinted at a bid to un­seat Demo­cratic U.S. Rep. Su­san Wild. She is a steady con­trib­u­tor to Repub­li­can can­di­dates and or­ga­ni­za­tions. This year she gave $2,800 to U.S. Rep. Fred Keller, R-12th Dis­trict, who had a spe­cial elec­tion in May, and $1,000 to U.S. Sen. Su­san Collins, R-Maine, Fed­eral Elec­tion Com­mis­sion records show. She’s also con­trib­uted $5,000 to the Repub­li­can Fed­eral Com­mit­tee of Pennsylvan­ia.

Scheller said she wanted to ex­pand the schol­ar­ship now as the Early Col­lege pro­gram gained mo­men­tum. This year, the Al­len­town School Dis­trict joined stu­dents from Park­land, White­hall, Ta­maqua and Le­high­ton in the pro­gram.

“No stu­dent should have their dreams of a higher ed­u­ca­tion crushed by in­abil­ity to af­ford that ed­u­ca­tion,” she said Tues­day at LCCC’s main cam­pus in Sch­necksville.

This year, 95 stu­dents are par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Early Col­lege pro­gram, 56 of whom come from the Al­len­town School Dis­trict. Stu­dents and their fam­i­lies are typ­i­cally re­spon­si­ble for the costs of a de­gree in the Early Col­lege pro­gram, al­though Al­len­town cov­ers the costs for stu­dents to par­tic­i­pate in LCCC’s pro­gram through a grant.

Su­per­in­ten­dent Thomas Parker said Tues­day morning the Scheller schol­ar­ship could al­low the dis­trict to ex­pand the num­ber of Al­len­town stu­dents who en­roll in the Early Col­lege pro­gram.

“One of the most im­por­tant things that we do in ed­u­ca­tion is cre­ate op­por­tu­nity and ac­cess,” he said.

PHO­TOS BY RICK KINTZEL/THE MORNING CALL

Lisa Scheller, a Le­high County busi­ness­woman and po­ten­tial con­gres­sional can­di­date, cen­ter, stands with Dr. Ann D. Bieber, LCCC pres­i­dent, right, as she talks to Ha­ronid Reyes, front left, and Samyia Vega, front right, both ju­niors at Al­len­town’s Build­ing 21 ju­niors Tues­day after a news con­fer­ence at Le­high County Com­mu­nity Col­lege in Sch­necksville. Scheller is pro­vid­ing schol­ar­ships for stu­dents from nine Le­high Val­ley school dis­tricts in an early col­lege pro­gram at Le­high County Com­mu­nity Col­lege.

Scheller talks to Thomas Parker, su­per­in­ten­dent for the Al­len­town School Dis­trict, on Tues­day after the news con­fer­ence.

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