Students and families gathered at the Tabernacle on a stormy Friday night in Oak Bluffs as nearly $947,000 in scholarships were awarded.

"We believe you are a great investment," said Anne Williamson of the Permanent Endowment Fund, which awarded $193,000 in scholarships. The Permanent Endowment Fund was one of the largest donors of the night, giving 101 seniors and post-graduates awards.

The scholarships are part of a community-wide program that provides a much-needed financial break to 146 seniors attending a wide range of educational and vocational institutions in the fall, as well as a handful of students studying at the post-graduate level. The minimum amount given to any student is about $1,000. This year's total of $947,000, raised by organizations and private donors, is the largest amount given in the history of the program.

Some scholarships are activity-specific in nature, given to students who went to the Edgartown School, for instance, or who are members of a sports team or choral group. Others are awarded based on an essay, as with the Martha's Vineyard Peace Council scholarships, awarded to Julia Cooper and Cece DeGregorio. But the intent is the same: to honor the future of the Vineyard community.

In addition to this year's senior class, which will graduate Sunday, three members of the class of 2012 received belated awards from the Tisbury Firefighters Association, as a package of applications had gotten lost in the mail last year and delivered to the group only this year. Another post-graduate, Max Moreis, received the Wendy Weisman Jenkinson Culinary Arts Fund scholarship for the second year in row to continue his chef studies.

"I have to say, when it rains, you all shine," Ms. Williamson said.