Oliver LaGrone Scholarship Information

Heather Rojas was honored as the 2021 LaGrone Scholar in a virtual service on May 23. She graduates this spring from Harrisburg Cougar Academy, where she was an outstanding student and a leader in academic activities. The Selection Committee was impressed by the number of college credits she earned via dual enrollment at Harrisburg Area Community Collect (HACC). Cougar Academy is a magnet school within the Harrisburg School District, enrolling students in grades 1-12. Heather will continue at HACC, then transfer to a four-year college to pursue a degree in nursing. She was also named a “Best and Brightest of 2021 ” student by the Patriot-News.

The mission of The Oliver LaGrone Scholarship Committee is to generate, broaden, and nurture post-secondary aspirations of Harrisburg School District students by providing personal support and advocacy; providing financial assistance for post-secondary education; involving Unitarian Church of Harrisburg members in action toward this purpose; and maintaining the legacy of Oliver LaGrone as the inspiration for the Scholarship.

Mr. LaGrone was a nationally noted poet, sculptor, philosopher, and humanitarian. He was also active with the Unitarian Church of Harrisburg while he lived in Harrisburg in the 1970’s. While associated with UCH, Oliver LaGrone inspired members of the church to establish a scholarship in his name. Funds to establish and build the scholarship came from many fundraisers and the donations of many individuals and organizations over the years, including  Oliver LaGrone's own donation of the proceeds from the sale of his sculpture, "The Dancer". Historically, some additional funds came in via the UCH Endowment Fund and the L. James Eckels Trust. However, today, the scholarship fund is replenished solely by donations and fund raisers such as the Book Swap.

Each year, UCH presents a scholarship for post-secondary education to a Harrisburg School District graduate. A mentor is identified from the UCH congregation with expertise in the scholar’s area of study. This mentor offers advice and guidance to the scholar throughout his or her education and sometimes beyond. A representative of the OLS Committee participates in the annual Harrisburg High School Awards Ceremony usually held in May at the school’s auditorium. At this ceremony, high school seniors are recognized by the faculty and community-at-large for their achievements. At this ceremony, the representative of the OLS Committee recognizes the scholar and the nature of the program is presented to all in attendance.


The Oliver LaGrone Scholarship program offers the largest local scholarship available to graduates of Harrisburg Public High Schools. Scholars receive $10,000 ($2,500 annually).


  • You are a student at the Harrisburg Public High Schools or a graduate of the Harrisburg School District (graduates must apply within five years of their graduation)
  • You are an applicant at an accredited post-secondary institution such as a college, business school, technical school, school of nursing, or an institute of fine arts
  • You are motivated to continue your education despite obstacles
  • You can demonstrate financial need
  • You have gained knowledge and skills from life that will help you succeed in the future


Application & Selection of Scholar

You must complete the enclosed scholarship application form and return it by US MAIL ONLY. You must also send in a suitable digital photograph (details in application). You must attach two other items:

  • copies of your transcripts from at least the past two semesters,
  • a brief portrayal of YOU! This can be in written form, or you can get creative, as described on the application.

If you are selected for an interview, following the receipt and review of your application, you must attend an interview on the Zoom video conference network on April 15, 2021. You must then have access to a Zoom capable device with camera and microphone on April 15th.

Assistance is available to complete the application or other financial assistance applications. Just call the Unitarian Church of Harrisburg at (717) 564-4761. If you need additional space to answer any question in the application, feel free to add a separate sheet.



  • 2020 – Cristina Ledesma – Shippensburg University – Accounting
  • 2019 – Ayobami “Kenny” Akingbesote – Harrisburg Area Community College - Nursing
  • 2018 – Sabina Dahal – Penn State University, Harrisburg Campus – Biochemistry/Molecular Biology
  • 2017 – Roman Colon – Penn State University, State College Campus – Finance