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Overcoming obstacles earned Charger graduate college scholarship

Aug 28, 2017 04:10PM ● Published by Jana Klopsch

Corner Canyon High graduate Hailee Thorn (second from right) joins other Canyons graduates who received the Bright Star scholarship from the Canyons Education Foundation. (Canyons School District)

By Julie Slama | Julie@mycityjournals.com

This fall, Corner Canyon High graduate Hailee Thorn may be engrossed in a chemistry class at Utah Valley University, thanks to the help of the Canyons Education Foundation.

Thorn, who wants to pursue a career in the medical field, received the Canyons Education Foundation’s $1,000 Bright Star scholarship.

“I took chemistry and human anatomy last year and liked learning about the body, so I think anesthesiologist would be a field I may be interested in,” she said.

Thorn was one of six students awarded a scholarship, which was based on their abilities to overcome difficulties in their lives, said Foundation Officer Laura Barlow.

“We awarded the scholarships to students who we see a difference in their life, whether it’s improving their grades, or overcoming a trial in their lives,” Barlow said. “Many students have a need, and through the scholarship, we hope we’re able to help them succeed in their future.”

This is the second year Canyons Education Foundation has awarded scholarships.

Thorn said she first heard of the scholarship opportunity when she was in the school counseling office.

“They showed me this application and how I needed to write an essay about how I’ve overcome trials in my life,” she said. “My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and through her treatments, I’ve been the one staying at home, helping her, sometimes I even missed school so I could get her to the hospital or get the help she needed.” 

Thorn also gave up her own activities — music and dance — to save money for her mother’s treatments. Her father was then living in St. Louis, where his job had taken him, leaving Thorn and her older siblings to care for her mother until she died about two years ago.

Since then, Thorn’s family has reunited and she has focused on schoolwork, raising her grade-point average to a 3.9 while holding a job after school, but money is still tight. 

“I was way excited to learn I got the scholarship and I was the only one from my school to get it. It was really nerve-wracking waiting to hear, but once I did, I called my dad and told him,” she said. 

On senior awards night, the scholarship information was presented to her in front of her peers. She also was awarded a large cardboard check at the Canyons Education Foundation Spring Gala.

At the gala, other Bright Star winners were recognized — Jennifer Pomeroy, from Alta High; Cassandra Hatcher, from Brighton High; Danielle Coccimiglio, from Hillcrest High; and Ismael Zarate-Guillen, from Jordan High. Alta High’s Vinnie Vala’au received the Rising Star scholarship. 

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