Scholar Story: Brodie
Gig Harbor, WA

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BrodieVery few high school students know first hand what it’s like to pay rent, file taxes, and maintain a full-time job. But when Brodie’s mother and stepfather moved away to Arizona, Brodie chose to stay behind in Washington, working 30 to 40 hours per week as a manager at McDonald’s in order to pay his bills, while still maintaining a perfect GPA.

"I just had to do it. There wasn’t a choice," Brodie recalled. "I had to quit track my senior year, because I had to work. I couldn’t do cross-country; I couldn’t do any sports. I had to use the time I had left to work on my school stuff."

Brodie’s father, who passed away when he was 10, always dreamed that his son would attend the University of Washington in Seattle; perhaps, Brodie speculates, because that was his father’s personal dream, as well. But Brodie worried whether he would be able to pay for tuition. His mother and stepfather offered no financial help, and Brodie realized that he would either end up having to take out a lot of student loans and work full time, or earn scholarships.

"I knew I was going to go no matter what I had to do. If that meant working full time through school, I would have done it. But I spent a lot of time applying for scholarships."

At the end of his senior year, Brodie was ecstatic to learn that he had received a generous scholarship form the Peninsula Hawks Scholarship Fund, a chapter of Dollars for Scholars located in his hometown of Gig Harbor, Wash. Thanks to this scholarship and others he received, Brodie’s first two years of school at UW are paid for in full through scholarships.

"I am really excited that I’m even getting to go to school," Brodie said. "If I didn’t have scholarships, I‘d be dead in the water. I wouldn’t be able to go to college."

Brodie was so grateful for the scholarships he received, that he immediately wanted to do something to give back. He and his good friend, Robb, set up a scholarship fund, made large donations to their fund, and used Facebook to ask people from their high school class to donate, too. Through the donations, they were able to give out two $200 scholarships to graduating seniors at their former high school.  

"Because I got so many scholarships, I wanted to do something to give back. Scholarships are important, because if a person doesn’t have parents to pay for their education or they can’t afford it, this is the way for them to be able to go to college," Brodie said.

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