Nana Adabie, a student in Southeast Community College's Academic Transfer program, is the first recipient of the Learn to Dream Achiever Award.
The award is presented to an SCC student on the Learn to Dream Scholarship who has completed at least two successful quarters of classes at the College and who has demonstrated personal improvement and achievement.
"When I found out I was chosen for this achiever award, I went home and told my Mom," Adabie said. "She was so proud. I told my Dad, and he was proud. I was shocked. It's sinking in slowly."
Adabie, who is attending classes at SCC's Lincoln Campus, is originally from Ghana, Africa. She moved to the United States when she was 15 after her aunt, who was taking care of Adabie and her siblings, died. Adabie's mother, Felicity Antwi, was in Nebraska working on a master's degree in French, which she earned from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2009. She is now in SCC's Practical Nursing program. Adabie's father, Kwamina Adabie, is a stay-at-home dad who takes care of the youngest in the family, 2-year-old Gloria.
Adabie, the oldest of five children, wants to become a nurse, possibly a midwife, and eventually earn a master's degree in nursing. She also has not ruled out one day applying to medical school. After she completes her education at SCC, she plans to transfer to BryanLGH College of Health Sciences in Lincoln for her bachelor's degree in nursing.
She said she loves SCC.
"It's a bunch of great people," Adabie said. "Everyone is willing to help you. And I love working in the library (Learning Resource Center). The people I work with always have a smile. I like that atmosphere."
Adabie was selected to receive the award because of her initiative in reaching her goals.
"She has really put in the work to research nursing programs, keep her grades up, obtain a job, and build relationships with teachers and advisors that can help her reach her goals," said Melanie Newell, one of two LTD retention specialists at SCC. "She is a very good advocate for her own education, and good role model and leader for other students. Her attitude is excellent and her work is always of the highest quality. She's a wonderful student who will really go far."
Adabie, who was accepted to the University of Minnesota but couldn't afford to go, said many scholarship applications require U.S. citizenship. Along with the Learn to Dream Scholarship, she received a Ruth Berg Scholarship through Trinity United Methodist Church in Lincoln.
"The Learn to Dream Scholarship was the boost I needed," said Adabie, a 2009 graduate of Lincoln High School. "Without the Learn to Dream (Scholarship), I didn't know how I was going to pay for college. I would have had to get a loan."
The Learn to Dream Scholarship is collaboration between Lincoln's private and public high schools, SCC, and generous funding from Nelnet and Union Bank & Trust. The first of its kind in Nebraska, Learn to Dream pays for tuition and fees up to 45 quarter credits at SCC (about one year of study). Once enrolled, students must maintain a 2.0 grade-point average to remain eligible. Last year, SCC expanded the scholarship to include all public and private high schools within its 15-county service area.