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For the first time the Enlisted Spouses Club will offer $1,000 scholarships to spouses of enlisted service members who are full-time students at an institution of higher education or a vocational school, and $500 scholarships to spouses who are part-time students.

The scholarship application, which can be found on the ESC website, www.ftmeadeesc.org, must be postmarked by Aug. 7. Winners will be notified in mid-September. Scholarships will be awarded in October.

"Because we [military families] move every three years, it does make it hard to get a good education," said Katherine Moore, the newly installed second vice president of the ESC. "And that makes it hard to get gainful employment."

Moore said the struggles faced by military spouses in attaining a higher education prompted her to lead the effort to create the scholarship. This year, the ESC raised $8,000 in proceeds from its Thrift Shop to fund the program.

To be eligible, applicants must be the spouse of an enlisted active-duty military member from any service branch including the National Guard and Reserve, or the enlisted spouse of a retiree of any service branch, including the Guard and Reserve.

Applicants also must be either assigned to Fort Meade, the National Security Agency or detachment units to Fort Meade or the NSA, or live on the installation or within a 30-mile radius.

In addition to submitting an essay and academic transcripts, applicants must be a volunteer in the military community and are required to submit a recommendation from their volunteer supervisor.

Moore said the emphasis on volunteer work reflects ESC's reliance on, and respect for, volunteers.

"It's because of the volunteers at the Thrift Shop that we can do this," said Moore, noting that the post shop is run by three paid staff members and a host of volunteers. "Everything we do is because of volunteers."

Moore, wife of Air Force Tech Sgt. Larry Moore of the 7th Intelligence Squadron at the NSA, said she is lucky she was able to compete her education when she was single.

Moore had completed both her undergraduate and graduate degrees before meeting her husband five years ago in South Korea, where she taught English at a private academy and a college.

"If I had gotten married at 18, 19 or 20, like many military spouses do, I wouldn't have been able to finish my education," she said. "My bachelor's degree was a four-year program."

The ESC has been providing scholarships to military children for 30 years. Moore said it is the club's hope that this scholarship also becomes an annual tradition.

"We hope it has a positive impact on the community and that we get a lot of applicants," she said. "Education is just so important. ... We set the example for our children."

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