PROVINCETOWN — For Christina Reid, 18 — a freshman at Boston’s Suffolk University, a 2020 graduate of Nauset Regional High School, and a third-through-eighth-grade alumna of Provincetown Schools — receiving this year’s Provincetown Town Scholarship proved to be a more-than-welcome boon.
Reid had saved earnings from seasons of working at the Portuguese Bakery and at Stop & Shop, alongside her mother, Ingrid Mattis, an essential worker at the grocery chain’s checkout counters. She’s applied for “just so many scholarships” and receives a financial aid package from Suffolk. Still, her annual charges are a whopping $61,216 for room, board, and tuition. To Reid, every dollar counts.
“I was considering not going back this spring semester, just to save money — to start working early,” Reid said.
Now, though, Reid doesn’t have to postpone her studies in the name of practicality. The Town Scholarship, which is awarded yearly to a single graduating high school senior who lives in Provincetown and “has achieved a distinguished academic record,” was a tremendous help, she said. “It’s relieved my mom from stress and relieved me from stress.”
Reid will return to Boston for her freshman spring semester. She’ll continue studying psychology (she thinks) with a focus on mental health counseling, sticking to her long-term post-graduation goal (she thinks) of returning to Provincetown and giving back to the community that has given to her.
Her future is bright. But the future of the gift that helped clear the path for her is clouded.
The Town Scholarship award has its origins in Massachusetts law: MGL Part I, Title IX, Chapter 60, Section 3C, which enables towns to fund a scholarship by accepting donations, according to Julia Perry, chair of the Provincetown Scholarship and Trust Administration Committee.
The law allows any city or town to “design and designate a place on its municipal tax bills … whereby the taxpayers of said city or town can voluntarily check off, donate, and pledge an amount” to add to the scholarship pool.
Provincetown’s property tax bill features one of the check-off boxes the law describes. But Perry said that “most people now pay their tax bills automatically — either through their mortgage or as an automatic deduction — and never look at the property tax bill, so the amount in the Town Scholarship Fund has been dropping.”
This year, there was only $4,449.77 in the Town Scholarship fund’s coffers. Based on the strength of Reid’s application — she had, among other accomplishments, the highest GPA of any applicant — the scholarship committee awarded her $4,000, which leaves a scant sum for applicants from the class of 2021.
In the absence of a regular cash stream coming with tax payments, the members of the scholarship committee have decided to spend the next few months fund-raising.
“At a minimum, we would like to raise enough to make a similar award next spring,” Perry said. “Ideally, we would like to raise enough to create a perpetuating fund.”
Donations to the fund may be made online at provincetown-ma.gov/791/Gift-FundsDonate or by sending a check made out to “Town of Provincetown” with “Town Scholarship Fund” on the memo line to the scholarship committee, 260 Commercial St., Provincetown 02657.
The scholarship committee is an advisory board that recommends student winners each year to the select board for approval. The committee is also responsible for the management of two other funds: the biannually awarded John Anderson Francis Scholarship, endowed by the will of Cecilia Francis, and the Capt. Joseph F. Oliver Scholarship Fund, endowed by Capt. Oliver’s will.
Reid was also one of this year’s six recipients of the Francis Scholarship, which is available to students who graduated from Provincetown Schools after 2009 and then graduated from any Cape Cod high school. Graduating high school seniors, students currently enrolled in college, and students enrolled in graduate or professional schools are all eligible to apply for the scholarship.
As of July 31, the Francis Scholarship fund had a balance of $1,130,230.71; of that amount, $605,638.13 was restricted for investment purposes. This year, acting on the committee’s recommendation, the select board awarded $45,000 of the fund’s $524,592.58 expendable balance to its six winners: Reid, Safara Brooker, Mackenzie Edwards, Aleksandar Isailovic, Lilli Osowski, and Katarzyna Sapinska.
The Oliver Scholarship is available to students with home addresses in Truro or Provincetown at the time of their high school graduation who have successfully completed their first year of college — after graduating either from Provincetown High School before 2013 (the year it closed) or from any other Cape Cod high school thereafter.
As of July 31, the Oliver Scholarship fund had a balance of $485,814.69, of which $415,809.73 was restricted for investment purposes. Acting on the committee’s recommendation, the select board awarded $12,500 to five students: Mary Burns, Mackenzie Edwards, Brenden Kaeselau, Nathan Balk King, and Katarzyna Sapinska.