By applying for three different scholarships I learned there are more than just financial benefits to winning a scholarship. The process of applying allowed me to gain personal growth from the experience and made me a much better City Clerk.

In all three attempts, I had to get past the procrastination of applying. I thought who has time to fill out an application and write a letter; much less, get the Mayor and Council on board? Finally, I decided to go ahead and try, after all, like they say with the lottery “you can’t win if you don’t play”.

Scholarships Available from CCMFOA

After I made the decision to apply, I started working on gaining support from my Mayor and Council. The Mayor was an easy sell since he came from a background of education. The Council on the other hand required some convincing. Basically I explained that they were losing money by not educating their staff. We were working harder instead of smarter because we lacked the basic fundamentals of municipal operations. Once I had everyone on board, I sat down and filled out the application, wrote my letter and asked the Mayor for a letter of support.

Unfortunately, all of my efforts did not pay off the first time. I did not win the scholarship for my first year at academy. At first, I was discouraged but when the scholarship opportunity came for the IIMC Annual Conference I had to go for it. I had already gotten through my first year of academy and all I could think is this conference is worth 8 points toward my CMC. I did it! I won the scholarship and went to Atlantic City with the most supportive, crazy bunch of clerks I had ever met! At this point I knew I had to continue on to earn my CMC. So once again, a notice for a Spring Conference scholarship was announced and I thought, “What the heck, I have the process down now so let try”. I won that one as well and so the taxpayers in Nickerson were spared some educational expense that will continue to pay off for years to come.

The bottom line is; you owe it to your tax payers to attempt to save them money by getting educated and scholarships are an excellent way to get the ball rolling. You will gain experience in applying by figuring out what is asked for on the application and how to word a good application letter. Your Council and Mayor will appreciate your extra effort to save tax payer dollars and best of all, you will grow in your personal relationships, gain valuable education, and become a better clerk then you ever expected.

Robin Schmitt, CMC
City Clerk of Nickerson