Scholarship Application

The Bright Star Scholarship Program for high school graduates in Hopkins County, Texas was established to support young adults in reaching their life goals. The costs of attending post-secondary institutions can often prohibit graduates from continuing their learning and formal education. The intent of this scholarship program is to assist students who would benefit from financial assistance as they continue to work toward career and life goals.

Click here to download a handout explaining the program in detail.

There are two steps applicants must complete in the application process.

Step 1 requires students to determine eligibility by:

  1. submitting an official transcript from their high school,
  2. providing documentation of need for financial support to attend a post-secondary educational institution, and
  3. providing an official letter from a school administrator or school counselor stating the attendance average of the student for the last seven semesters to the foundation’s Executive Director to determine if all criteria are met.

The deadline for receiving the transcript, financials documentation, and official letter stating attendance average must be received by the Executive Director no later than 5:00 pm on March 10, 2024. If documents are mailed they must be delivered by 5:00 pm on March 10, 2024 – NOT postmarked by that timestamp or date. Once the criteria for eligibility are confirmed and the applicant has been notified as such by the Executive Director, the applicants will move on to Step 2 of the process.

All original official documents should be mailed to 216 College Street, Sulphur Springs, TX 75482.

Step 2 – Submission of Final Documents and Interview

  1. In Step 2, eligible applicants must write an essay on a given topic related to the mission and goals of the foundation. Each applicant will receive the same essay prompt in an email from the executive director.
  2. In Step 2, applicants must have letters of recommendation submitted by two (2) adults. These letters of recommendation must be mailed by the authors of the letters to the executive director at the foundation’s designated address or written and uploaded on the foundation’s websiteAn applicant will not be eligible for their interview until both of the letters of recommendation have been received.
  3. In Step 2, applicants must submit a resume describing work and education experiences, achievements, future goals, leadership positions, etc. A student may use the resume template of his or her choice to submit this information.
  4. In Step 2, applicants must conduct an interview with a John and Deborah Gillis Foundation’s Bright Stars Scholarship Advisory Committee. The Executive Director will work with the applicant to set up his or her interview date and time AFTER two recommendation letters, a resume and essay have been received.
  5. Applicants must submit and complete all of Step 2 Bright Stars Scholarship application processes no later than 5:00 pm on March 17. No letters of recommendation, resumes or essays will be accepted after this deadline.
  6. April 5 is the last day interviews will be conducted.

Scoring Rubrics

What determines my eligibility?

Students who compete through an application process for the annual scholarships will be required to meet the following criteria:

  1. B average on whatever Grade Point Average scale is used by their district
  2. 80% attendance average for the last 7 semesters of high school
  3. In the process of graduating in the current semester from a school in Hopkins County, Texas.
  4. Demonstrate a need for post-secondary financial assistance


  1. Applicants must complete a Bright Stars Scholarship application form that may be submitted as a hard copy or electronically through the foundation’s website.
  2. Applicants must submit an official transcript (signed by a school official or have an original seal stamped on the document) for the first seven semesters of high school with the application.
  3. Applicants must meet all published application deadlines established to be eligible. The application requirements will be vetted by the foundation’s Executive Director to ensure all required documents have been submitted.
  4. Applicants must write an essay on a given topic related to the mission and goals of the foundation. Each applicant will receive the same essay prompt.
  5. Applicants must have two (2) known adults submit a letter of recommendation.
  6. Applicants must fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA) form or submit other forms of documentation demonstrating a financial need (see application document for further information).
  7. Once all documents have been submitted within the published deadline, an interview with three Bright Stars Scholarship Advisory Committee members will be scheduled for the applicant by the Executive Director.
  8. Winning applicants must retain an overall 2.5 GPA to remain eligible to receive scholarship funding each semester in college or the post-secondary institution which they are attending.

Winning applicants must submit an official transcript to the Executive Director after each semester from their post-secondary educational institution to remain eligible for the grant-funded scholarship.