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Polk State Student Spotlight:

Maria Seeks To Be Role Model For Sisters

Maria is passionate about three things: her family, her education, and being a role model for others. As a first-generation student, Maria believes it is imperative for her to lead by example, proving to her three sisters, her peers, and all first-generation students that an American education is a gift that can lead to a rewarding career and financial security.

A diligent student and member of the College’s Honors Program, Maria has a vision for her future that is very specific: She plans to graduate in December 2020 with a Polk State College Associate in Arts degree, and then obtain the Polk State Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision and Management degree with a specialization in Business Administration. As a high school student, she maintained discipline toward her goals and even enrolled in Advanced Placement (AP) courses to accelerate her pathway. Yet, the COVID-19 pandemic placed undue financial challenges on her family, leaving Maria wondering if she would be able to pay for classes in the Fall 2020 Semester.

Luckily, Maria received a Polk State College Foundation Scholarship that paid for her tuition and books. This helpful hand-up, which made all the difference in her ability to return to school, was made possible by the many generous Foundation donors who give to assist struggling students in their progress toward degrees. With this scholarship, Maria has been able to continue toward her goals with renewed spirit and a positive outlook. As Maria explained, “Sometimes I thought about giving up, but my motivation is financial stability for my current family and my future family. It is so important that future generations of children have someone to look up to. I want my sisters to be able to look up to me.”

The scholarship did more than lighten her financial burden. It also enabled Maria to maintain her membership in the Honors Program and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society (PTK), where she is an active member. In the PTK, Maria is a student leader and encourages others to make the most of the opportunities afforded through education. In her view, the importance of education goes far beyond a degree or credential: “A degree is not just the end result of education. We need to think of the learning itself as an important step along the way. We also need to gain communication skills to be able to talk to peers and experts, so that we can be informed about our community and our world.”


#GivingTuesday, December 1, 2020

We invite you to save-the-date to join us this #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving and unity, on Tuesday, December 1, 2020. This year has impacted the finances of many of our students and their families, making the dream of an education more challenging than ever. Even as we practice social distancing, we can remain connected through kindness and generosity.

 #GivingTuesday donations will be directed to support the NESTS (Nipping Emergency Situations and Technology Shortfalls) fund. NESTS was set up to assist students who find themselves in much-needed financial support during this challenging time. You can join in on this 24 hour social media giving campaign by donating online through NESTS.

All donations, large and small, will help transform our college community by making dreams of education and better futures a reality for our students.