By Haley Chi-Sing

Coral Thrift Shop has awarded $50,000 in scholarships to 50 graduating high school seniors in South Orange County. Each student was awarded $1,000 to go toward their fall college semester, scheduled to begin in the next couple of weeks.

“(Coal Thrift Shop) started the (program,) because they wanted to help people in the community better themselves, and a lot of people need an extra boost . . . we wanted to help people succeed,” said Walter Switzer, chair of Coral Thrift Shop Scholarship Committee.

This year, recipients included graduating students from Dana Hills High School, San Clemente High School, JSerra Catholic High School, and San Juan Hills High School, all of whom plan to pursue “any kind of postgraduate education,” according to Switzer.

Students were asked to submit individual applications along with essays, grades, and familial financial income to participate in the program. The scholarship committee then worked to finalize and review all applications and essays sent in.

“We look for people who have served the community and worked in the community, and we look for people who can write and put words together in a way that makes sense,” said Switzer.

Since the establishment of the scholarship program in 1974, Coral Thrift Shop has awarded nearly a half-million dollars in scholarships to local graduating students, as well as to the Boys & Girls Club of the South Coast Area.

Due to safety and health regulations, Coral Thrift Shop was unable to put on an award ceremony for their scholarship recipients, according to Sandi Murray, committee treasurer. 

Headed by Switzer, the scholarship committee comprises the thrift store’s own staff. All Coral Thrift Shop profits, donations, and their staff’s salaries go toward the store’s scholarship program.

“Everything—all of our profits and our salaries—go toward the students, which is a wonderful way to have it happen,” said Switzer.

Coral Thrift Shop is currently closed due to COVID-19 safety mandates. A  reopening date has yet to be determined; however, they are looking to open their doors again in August.

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