ROCKLAND, Maine — A seasonal South Thomaston couple is expanding their efforts to encourage students in Knox County to further their education after high school.
Since 2009, Beverly and David Worthington have been providing college scholarships to any Oceanside High School student who maintains strong grades and then attends any of several Maine colleges. They also finance a program that educates students about the cost of college and provides them a mentor.
Last year, the couple expanded the scholarship program to Camden Hills Regional High School. They are hoping to expand it this year to a third high school in the midcoast area, but they have not yet identified which school it may be.
Last year, 20 seniors at Oceanside were awarded Worthington Scholarships, but the goal is to double that number for this year.
Beverly Worthington said recently at a Regional School Unit 13 Board meeting that the creation of the Worthington Scholars program aims to make college attainable for students. She said while some students will get an education and move away, she is confident that with enough local students getting a higher education, many will choose to return to the region.
“When they come back here, they will be free to start a tech company or business that needs brain power,” she said. “This area has so much to offer in terms of art, culture, hiking. There is a lot to bring people back here.”
A Scholars Day is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 19, at the high school in Rockland. All 121 seniors from the five-community district will be at the daylong session. The Scholar Day will provide information on four-year colleges, two-year programs, certificate programs and the military, she said.
“We want all students to see themselves as college bound,” said Oceanside Principal Jennifer Curtis.
The Worthington Scholars program offers $1,500 per semester for up to four years at Maine public universities, Husson University in Bangor, Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, or Thomas College in Waterville for any Oceanside graduate who maintained a B average in school. Scholarships of up to $750 per semester are available for students who maintained a C average and who attend a two-year community college in Maine.
All Worthington Scholars recipients also are required to take a financial literacy course, which is provided free of charge. The Worthingtons finance the position of a mentor, a position held by Caitlin Clark, a graduate of the former Rockland District High School who has an office at Oceanside.
The Worthingtons are summer residents of Spruce Head Island in South Thomaston and live in Naples, Florida, during the remainder of the year.
Beverly Worthington is a retired corporate commercial pilot. David Worthington worked in the oil business, eventually founding his own offshore oil exploration business, which now is known as TGS Geophysical Co.
David Worthington’s father had lived in the midcoast, and the couple began summering in the area a little more than 25 years ago.