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2021 #WeBelongInCollege Scholarship Winners

Last updated November 17, 2021

Meet the 2021 #WeBelongInCollege Scholarship winners! Watch and listen to their stories of struggle and perseverance getting to and through college. Special thanks to each student winner – and the hundreds of others who entered – for vulnerably sharing how they’ve overcome challenges, come to believe they do belong in college, and given advice to help other students keep persisting!

$2,500 Scholarship Winners

Charlize’s #WeBelongInCollege Story

Charlize was born with sickle cell anemia, which caused her to miss many days of school and important exams. It was tough for Charlize, but she found the motivation and ambition to keep pushing herself and strive for success, and encourages all students to do the same.

David’s #WeBelongInCollege Story

David’s family immigrated to the United States before he was born. His mom wanted him to get a good education and become successful. David didn’t take school seriously, hardly showed up, and got caught up in gang activity. On top of this, David started a new job that he didn’t enjoy, helping him come to the conclusion that he wanted to pursue a higher education and turn his life around. David, a first-generation student, is now applying to colleges and aiming to open up his own business.

Isaiah’s #WeBelongInCollege Story

For Isaiah, getting that college degree was the end-all, be-all, but college didn’t start off how Isaiah had hoped. Isaiah registered for classes late, and once classes started, Isaiah started falling behind and missed assignments. Isaiah started to question himself, but his advisor gave him some resources that he took advantage of to continue pushing for his degree and make the most of his experiences.

Jordan’s #WeBelongInCollege Story

When Jordan was in high school, he had an underlying condition that caused him pain even when doing ordinary activities such as laughing. He had been misdiagnosed and after multiple x-rays and visits to the doctor, he was finally cured of his pain. After this, Jordan knew that he had to go into the health field to help others who may be in similar situations. Once Jordan got to college, he found himself quickly failing the intro-level biology classes and his advisors told him he had no chance. Eventually, Jordan found an advisor who truly believed in him, and with their help, Jordan was able to change his mindset and greatly improve in all of his classes.

$1,000 Scholarship Winners

Abigail’s #WeBelongInCollege Story

Comparing yourself to others is easy to do, and that’s exactly what Abigail did. She compared herself to other students who were doing so much more than her, such as sports, school, part-time jobs, and more. She questioned why a college board would ever pick her over any of these other students. Thanks to her mom, Abigail found confidence in herself and noted that it’s okay to struggle and show your human side.

Anaya’s #WeBelongInCollege Story

Growing up, Anaya constantly compared herself to other people which led to her questioning whether she should apply to college or not. She felt as if she wasn’t smart or creative enough for college. One day, she came to a realization that everyone is unique and special in their own way, and you should love and respect yourself, instead of comparing yourself to them.

Anistyn’s #WeBelongInCollege Story

Anistyn started to doubt if college was for her when she realized that all her friends were already applying to colleges and she had barely started. Feeling stressed and behind, Anistyn proceeded to talk to her friends and ask for help, only to find out that a lot of people were in the same situation as she was and she wasn’t alone. This helped Anistyn rebuild confidence in herself and applied to multiple colleges!

Elizabeth’s #WeBelongInCollege Story

Elizabeth grew up dealing with mental health problems and struggled in school, receiving her high school diploma with a 1.9 GPA. She struggled finding a college that would accept her and questioned whether college was even meant for her. Luckily, Elizabeth found her motivation, found a college for her and is now pursuing her degree.

Janelle’s #WeBelongInCollege Story

Janelle was thriving in high school until one day, her father passed away, and her mental health began to decline. It was difficult, but Janelle pushed herself to persevere for her father and reach her goals.

Kirsten’s #WeBelongInCollege Story

Kirsten, being a perfectionist, developed some harmful habits, including an eating disorder and substance abuse. She believed that she wasn’t going to graduate on time, adding to the idea that she wasn’t perfect. During her senior year, she began to accept that she had to pave her own path, and that the timing of your schooling doesn’t measure who you are.

Nicole’s #WeBelongInCollege Story

Nicole began to lose her motivation and confidence once she started to compare herself to the people around her, especially with other students on the swim team. Luckily, her sister introduced her to this new athletic training program which helped her find a greater passion helping other athletes heal and recover.

Stanley’s #WeBelongInCollege Story

Stanley and his family struggled financially to afford college. Because of this, Stanley began to doubt himself. He began to seek other methods of affording college, made more connections, found scholarships, and made more progress towards college.

Teshane’s #WeBelongInCollege Story

Teshane started to question whether she belonged in college when she started applying for colleges her senior year of high school. Teshane, a first-generation student, struggled filling out the FAFSA and didn’t know how she would apply and make it to college on her own.. In the end, Teshane persevered thanks to her guidance counselor’s help and her passion to pursue a career as a legal defense attorney.

Zaituni’s #WeBelongInCollege Story

Zaituni came to the United States just five years ago and struggled in advanced placement classes and on the SAT/ACT tests. Because of this, she was unsure of whether she would get accepted into a college or not. Thanks to her sister’s advice, Zaituni was reassured that she was capable of making it to and through college.

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