Scholarship America's Dollars for Scholars communities work every day on a local, grassroots level to help their students get a college degree. Student volunteers are an invaluable resource in those communities, and the Student Volunteer Award (SVA) is Scholarship America's way of honoring students who embody the volunteer spirit of Dollars for Scholars.
We are pleased to announce the 20 student winners of the Student Volunteer Award. These exceptional students will receive $1,000 scholarships, and the national winner will earn a $1,000 renewable award for up to four years. These awards are funded by Scholarship America – including the Scholarship America Staff Award, provided through funds raised by our own employees.
Over the next two weeks, we’ll introduce you to all of the student winners here on Success by Degrees, culminating with the national Student Volunteer of the Year announcement on May 20. Here are the first five recipients -- read their stories below, and stay tuned for much more!
Haley, currently a high school senior from North Billerica, Massachusetts, has been a Counselor-in-Training at a young girls’ grief camp for over four years. Her own experience of losing her father at a very young age moved her to give back to the same organization that has helped her throughout the years. Through it all, she has discovered that “a journey fraught with difficulties doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have its rewards, moments of true peace or beauty.” Haley was nominated for the award by the Billerica Scholarship Foundation Dollars for Scholars affiliate; after graduation, she plans on pursuing a degree in Marine and Environmental Sciences. By pursuing her lifelong passion for the environment, the ocean and its creatures, she hopes to make a difference in the world.
Dylan has spent countless hours volunteering in a variety of different settings throughout the years, including helping the youth, homeless and elderly. He also spends much of his time volunteering at the local bridge house, docking boats and providing food for the boaters. Dylan is also passionate about basketball and track. His devotion for sports has led him to coach, referee and fundraise for several youth basketball programs – a volunteer opportunity that he plans of continuing throughout his lifetime. Dylan, a high school senior from Phoenix, New York, was nominated by Phoenix Central School District Dollars for Scholars. He plans on pursuing a medical degree after high school and will be one of the first in his family to attend college.
Ethan is passionate about music and has donated much of his time volunteering and performing at special events. His musical talents are numerous and include the guitar, percussion and vocals. After high school, he plans on pursuing a music education and psychology degree, in order to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a music therapist, as he firmly believes that “music brings comfort and hope to others in times of stress and despair.” Ethan, nominated by Le Sueur-Henderson Dollars for Scholars, is a high school senior from Le Sueur, Minnesota and is the recipient of a Scholarship America Staff Award.
Throughout her life Alys has faced several challenges, including an early diagnosis of scoliosis, which resulted in a series of various treatments affecting her life immensely. Ultimately, Alys was able to undergo a successful spinal surgery and after months of recovery, she emerged with a new passion to improve the lives of others – specifically those with neurodegenerative diseases – through scientific research. Alys, currently a high school senior, already recognizes that there is a communication gap between the scientific community and society. Part of her journey will include finding ways “to make science more approachable, thus more prominent in our culture, leading to the limitless power of informed civic action.” Alys was nominated by St. Peter-Kasota Dollars for Scholars; she is from St. Peter, Minnesota and is a recipient of the Scholarship America Staff Award.
Alicia, currently a college sophomore, began volunteering at a very early age. While in grade school, she began dispensing milk jugs throughout the classrooms, in an effort to raise money for the repair of a damaged monument in her hometown of Candia, New Hampshire. Throughout her life, Alicia has truly demonstrated a passion for helping people, and her volunteer efforts are numerous. Whether it’s participating in outreach programs, leading annual toy drives, painting children’s’ faces or playing bingo with senior citizens, Alicia takes on any opportunity she can to help out whenever and wherever she can. She believes that “life is not about getting all you hoped for but enough of what you need.” Nominated by Candia Dollars for Scholars, Alicia is currently pursuing her psychology degree.
Congratulations to these amazing student volunteers. Subscribe to Success by Degrees to meet the next 15 recipients – or check out the blog next Tuesday and Friday!
Thanks to post co-author Lynelle Hubbard; thanks to Le Sueur-Henderson Dollars for Scholars and Cathy Johnson for the photo of Ethan Dwyer.