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Learn to Dream Scholarship Recipients Reflect on Past Year

Learn to Dream 2016
Learn to Dream scholars at 2016 banquet
Learn to Dream 2016 Dr. Illich
Dr. Paul Illich speaks to the Learn to Dream scholars.

For some, being a student at Southeast Community College is a dream come true.

Mariah Nava is finishing her first year at SCC. She is a recipient of the Learn to Dream Scholarship. The scholarship covers one year of tuition at SCC with no additional fees. Last year, more than 400 scholarships were awarded.

“I was very relieved,” Nava said upon hearing she received the scholarship last year. “It helped me figure out things better and helped to get college started for me.”

Nava attended Lincoln North Star High School and found out about the scholarship from her counselor. She’s an Academic Transfer student at SCC and wants to eventually work in theater.

“My hope is to get to New York,” Nava said. “I want bigger and better things, but if I stay in Nebraska, that’s OK, too.”

Nava is one of many students at SCC who received the LTD Scholarship last year. They can be found at all three campuses in Beatrice, Lincoln and Milford.  Sarah Aguirre is a success coach for Learn to Dream. She says Nava pushes herself academically.

“Each quarter she takes on new challenges and works hard to get through the tough assignments and exams,” Aguirre said. “We are so proud of her dedication and progress.”

The Learn to Dream Scholarship provides more than just financial assistance to the students, Aguirre said. The student success coaches are able to help students with time management, study skills, career advising, and assistance with financial aid and registration.

“It provides a good opportunity for some students who wouldn’t otherwise go to college,” Aguirre added.

Rafael Mendoza is a Lincoln High graduate who also accepted a Learn to Dream Scholarship to attend SCC. He said during high school, he wasn’t sure he would’ve gone on to college if it wasn’t for the scholarship opportunity. Now he’s in the Auto Collision Repair Technology program and has a bright future.

“I was pretty excited about the scholarship,” Mendoza said. “I probably wouldn’t have gone to SCC at all; probably just started working after high school.”

Mendoza said college is much more challenging than he thought it would be. Instructors expect you to be responsible and get your work done, he said. It’s not like high school where teachers would nudge you a little more. He’s already trying to recruit other students to take advantage of the scholarship.

“I told my friend who just graduated from Southwest about SCC and the Learn to Dream Scholarship,” he said.

The 2016 Learn to Dream Spring Celebration will be held May 31, 2016, at SCC’s Lincoln Campus from 5:30-7:30 p.m. The seventh annual event will recognize all of the Gold Achievement (4.0 grade-point average) and Silver Achievement (3.5 GPA) Award recipients. Four outstanding students also will be awarded for their academic achievements.

“The Learn to Dream people are really helpful,” Nava said. “I am blessed to have this scholarship.”

The Learn to Dream Scholarship, which was created in 2007, is a joint effort between Nelnet, Union Bank & Trust and SCC. All Lincoln seniors who qualify for free and reduced lunch are eligible. There is no GPA requirements to get accepted, but a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA must be earned at SCC to maintain it.


For more information contact:
Andrea Gallagher Haggar
Marketing Specialist