Scholar Story: Nicole
Tucson, AZ

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Growing up in the lower-income south side of Tucson, Arizona, Nicole was aware of the poverty surrounding her and always felt extra appreciative of what her parents could provide for her. Her father, a manager of a chain of optical stores, and her mother, a floral designer, were able to give their children what they needed. But they did not make enough money to pay for their children’s education, and Nicole always knew that if she wanted to go to college, she must earn good enough grades to be able to pay for college through scholarships.

Nicole“It was definitely a big worry on my shoulders, because I knew my parents couldn’t afford to pay for college for me. I had a cousin that paid for college entirely with scholarships, so I knew it was attainable and it was possible to do,” she said.

While in high school, Nicole was involved in as many activities as seemed possible—the marching and concert bands, National Honor Society, Interclub Council, and a regular volunteer at Mobile Meals—and studied hard to stay at the top of her class. Throughout her senior year of high school, Nicole spent time applying for as many scholarships as she could.

She found out about the Sunnyside Learning Community Dollars for Scholars scholarship from peers who had gotten the scholarship in the past, applied for it in January, and found out towards the end of the year that she had received a $1,000 scholarship from the chapter.

Throughout her college years, the chapter encourages their recipients to stay in touch with one another. It’s a way for them to meet friends and support each other during college.

“It’s a really neat scholarship because it’s from your school district. None of the kids I’ve talked to from other places around the country have anything like it,” said Nicole.

Between the Dollars for Scholars scholarship and others she received, all four years of Nicole's education at the University of Arizona (where she majored in early childhood education) were paid for.

“It was a lot of work and a lot of applying, but it definitely is worth it,” Nicole said. “If someone is willing to give you a thousand dollars, it’s definitely worth it. Would you rather work a full time job or just do the application for the scholarship?”

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