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  • Writer's pictureHopeloft Team

Give Something Back Provides 27 Bridgeton Graduates with Scholarships

Updated: Jun 17, 2020

Students from Bridgeton High School who will be receiving full-ride scholarships from Give Something Back pose with Domenic Merendino, Give Back's Director of Admissions, and Bill Waterman, a lauded counselor from BHS.

Twenty-seven of the students graduating from Bridgeton High School today will not need to worry about paying for college – because they will be receiving full-ride scholarships from the New Jersey-based nonprofit, Give Something Back.

Give Back, which currently operates in seven states, focuses on providing scholarships to underserved youth – particularly children of incarcerated parents, foster youth, and kids in low-income households. Most scholarship recipients are chosen in 9th grade and are provided with programming and mentorship opportunities throughout their four years in high school to ensure they’re on the right track for succeeding in college.

Of the 27 Give Back scholars graduating today, 24 were accepted into the scholarship program in 2016 and they will be attending college this upcoming fall.

The scholarship they receive will cover tuition, fees, and room and board, so students can focus on their education. Most recipients of the Give Back scholarship will be the first in their families to attend college. Some are from households living below the poverty line, and some have current or formerly-incarcerated parents, while others have grown up in the foster care system.

Robert O. Carr, the founder and chairman of Give Something Back, will be speaking at the BHS graduation. Executive Director of Give Back, Melissa Helmbrecht, will be in attendance as well. Bill Waterman, a counselor at Bridgeton High School, will also be there to watch many of the students he’s mentored over the past four years graduate. Waterman has also been recognized by Give Back for his assistance in helping so many Bridgeton students in need sign up for the scholarship program initially.

Bob Thompson, a distinguished alum of BHS who helped fund the Bridgeton High School football field, will be there to watch the graduation as well.

Graduation will take place on Friday, June 21st at 6:30 p.m., at the Bridgeton High School football field, located at 41 Bank Street in Bridgeton.

Scholars in the Give Back program must maintain a 3.0 GPA or above while in high school, and also attend a handful of yearly Give Back events designed to expose them to college campuses, placement tests, life skills instruction, and more. There is also a yearly community service campaign they participate in called, “Give Back Gives Back” where the scholarship recipients are encouraged to find a way to “give back” to their community in any way they can.

Since its inception, Give Back has invested more than $36 million in scholarships across the country.

Give Back is able to fund the scholarships by partnering with colleges and universities and offering them a large, upfront contribution to their school. The college can utilize the money for four years before the Give Back students even step on campus. In exchange, the college will cover the rest of each scholar’s financial gap (after federal funding such as Pell Grants are applied) which includes tuition, fees, room and board. With written partner agreement outlines, the college reserves a designated number of spots for Give Back students at a deeply discounted cost.

To learn more about Give Something Back and their scholarship program, visit

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