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It's not too late to apply for five local college scholarships to be awarded later this month, but you have to act quickly.

The Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center Abstinence Education and Promotion Program -- with funding from the New York state Department of Health -- is sponsoring five scholarships of $2,000 each for currently enrolled first-year college students.

Eligible candidates must be 1999 graduates of a Niagara County high school with an unweighted graduating average of 80 percent or higher. They also must be currently enrolled in a two- or four-year, accredited college or university.

The deadline for applications is Monday. For information and applications, contact project coordinator Michael Brundidge at the Medical Center, 278-4314. Scholarship applicants must write a 150-word essay on the benefits of abstinence from sex for teens.

Scholarship winners must agree to complete a minimum of 40 hours of mentoring to participate in abstinence education programs at community agencies in Niagara County.

"Scholarship recipients will receive training in how to deliver the abstinence education message," said Brundidge. "Recipients will be assigned to an agency, which if they are local, will be easier, but college students away from home can fulfill this requirement when they're on school break during holidays or the summer."

Start-up issues delayed the announcement of the new scholarship program this year, Brundidge said, but he added that the scholarship committee wants to award the scholarships by Sept. 30, so they will benefit students in the current school year.

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