Gimme some skin: National High Five Day starts scholarship fund for incoming freshmen

By Leah Spagnoli

For 10 years, the third Thursday in April has been considered “National High Five Day.” Thursday was no different besides the fact that NH5D turned into a scholarship fund.

In honor of the 10th annual National High Five Day, the National High Five Project began a scholarship for high school seniors going into college.

“Every year NH5D brings good feelings to people who participate; we wanted to start bringing in good things too,” said Greg Harrell-Edge, executive director of the National High Five Project. “I work for a company that raises money for non-profits and thought it was a good idea to start raising money and putting it towards a scholarship fund.”

National High Five Day began in 2002 at the University of Virginia by a group of friends on campus, Harrell-Edge said.

“There was one part of the quad where super serious groups would set up,” Harrell-Edge said. “We wanted to see what would happen if we gave out high fives and lemonade. It was mostly an experiment.”

Thursday kicked off fundraising on People could donate a minimum of $20 to get a message they wrote posted on the front page of the website for 10 minutes.

“When their message is about to be posted, I call them to let them know and wish them a happy high five day,” Harrell-Edge said.

The scholarship is open to all high school seniors going into their freshmen year in college, Harrell-Edge said. Students can submit an essay to apply for the scholarship. In order to administer the scholarship, the group incorporated a charity with the legal name of National High Five Project through the California Secretary of State, according to the website. The project has a non-profit account with Wells Fargo, where the money is directed and every donation is tax-deductible.

This year the essay question covers finding a creative solution to a modern problem. The problem can be national or local.

“The scholarship should be posted in the beginning of June and run until the end of the month,” Harrell-Edge said. “After the deadline, we will read all of the essays and pick four participants, then conduct an interview process and pick the winner.”

Next year, the National High Five Project wants to become more well-known and expand, Harrell-Edge said. A “high five-a-thon” is planned, where people can sign up online to be sponsored to get at least 555 high fives on NH5D. This can be done individually or as a team, Harrell-Edge said.