MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. — Though this is an especially tough year for students with the uncertainty of the pandemic and learning remotely, Scholarship America is dedicated to supporting students’ dreams and determination.

Twenty-one exceptional students have been selected as recipients of Scholarship America's 2020 Dream Award, including Sydney Koirth, Hays, a radiologic technology major at Fort Hays State University.

The Dream Award is Scholarship America’s renewable scholarship program for students with financial need and who have overcome significant barriers to make it to college. Since the Dream Award was created in 2014, 108 students have been awarded scholarships totaling nearly $2 million.

While a junior in high school, Koirth became pregnant. Two weeks after her son’s birth, she attended summer classes at a community college. Shortly after, the baby’s father left and she became the sole provider. During her senior year, she juggled classes, sports and school clubs, was elected class vice-president, and obtained her license to get a job as a certified medication aide. She is studying radiologic technology in college and dreams to be a radiologist.

"This is an impressive group of resilient academic achievers who are focused on building a brighter future for their careers, while also helping their families and communities," said Robert C. Ballard, president and CEO of Scholarship America. "They have overcome major challenges in their lives including serious illness, abandonment, abuse, family loss, poverty and homelessness, to pursue their dreams for their future. These students demonstrate the power of a scholarship in transforming their lives and paying it forward to help others."

For six years, Scholarship America has hosted Dreams to Success: a dinner and fundraising event in Washington, DC to honor Dream Award students. Ballard noted that due to COVID-19, the need to support deserving students is greater than ever. Therefore, Scholarship America will convert the 2020 Dreams to Success event into an online Day of Giving on May 7, celebrating the 2020 Dream Award students as well as Dream Award students from previous years. More information on the Day of Giving and how to donate can be found at https://scholarshipamerica.org/news-events/dreams-to-success/.