Promise program a boon for twin scholars

By ERIC STEVICK

Herald Writer

For Adam and Clinton Seal, the scholarships each received from the state of Washington don’t free them from the pizza dough, but they do help pay for college.

The twins, who work for competing pizza chains and split time on a family computer, are attending Everett Community College this fall.

Their tuition is paid through the Washington Promise Scholarship program, which will provide scholarships statewide to about 5,700 high school graduates from low- and middle-class families between 1999 and 2001.

The Seal twins, who graduated from Cascade High School, were among 83 Washington Promise Scholar winners from EvCC recognized by Gov. Gary Locke Tuesday.

To qualify, students must meet economic requirements and must either graduate in the top 15 percent of their high school classes or score 1,200 or better on the Scholastic Aptitude Tests on their first attempt.

"My husband and I are very proud and somewhat relieved," said Paula Seal, the twins’ mother, who works as an educational assistant at View Ridge Elementary School in Everett.

This year, Washington Scholar students are eligible to receive up to $1,542, worth about one year of tuition at a state community college.

"We are just so excited that it was that amount," Adam Seal said.

The Washington Promise Scholarship program will end in June of 2001 if the Legislature does not vote to extend it. Locke wants it to become a permanent fixture so elementary school teachers can tell students with certainty that if they work hard they may receive a state scholarship some day.

For the working middle class, "it’s getting harder and harder to realize the American dream of a college education," Locke said.

Of this year’s student recipients, nearly two-thirds are female, more than a third qualify for financial aid because they come from low-income families and a little more than half will attend a four-year university.

Christina Castorena, director of student financial services at EvCC, said the high schools play an important role in identifying students who qualify. For Adam and Clinton Seal, their applications appeared in the mail without them even inquiring.

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