Two seniors earn full ride scholarships
December 5, 2019
Two Hot Springs County High School seniors applied to the National College Match program through QuestBridge over the summer, Hannah Hu and Breeze Petty.
The two applied to their top 12 college choices with the chance to receive full ride scholarships to one of the premier educational facilities in the U.S.
High school counselor Elisa Daniels said this is the first time any of our students have applied to the program. It is an intricate process filled with a ton of essays by the applicants, but in the end, it matches high academically achieving students that fall into the low-income category with schools they may not otherwise have the opportunity to attend.
Both Hu and Petty have been chosen among thousands of applicants across the country to receive full rides, Hu to Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York and Petty to Hamilton College in Clinton, New York.
Not only are the scholarships full ride with books, housing, tuition and meals, it also includes travel expenses so they can fly home to see their families on holidays.
"Before I explain why I ranked Hamilton I should first point out that QuestBridge as a whole really opened my eyes to a whole bunch of colleges that were looking for students like me," Petty said. "I probably would never have heard about Hamilton had it not been for QuestBridge in the first place.
"But after learning about Hamilton and a slew of other colleges I ranked it for a couple key points, first and foremost their small class sizes and student to faculty ratio. This was the biggest point on my list because, coming from little Thermopolis, Wyoming, I am accustomed to hands on help from teachers and I would have hated to end up somewhere where that wasn't available.
"Secondly I chose Hamilton because they had really exciting and interesting programs. I specifically am looking into a political science major or anything of the sort, but am also interested in going to law school as a grad student, and at Hamilton there are programs that will allow me to prepare for both.
"Lastly, I chose Hamilton because of the opportunities that come from a school like it. The location combined with the students and faculty members make for a really great learning environment as well as a successful post undergrad career. Which are really important to me, and while available at most every other school is definitely a priority at Hamilton."
Petty was asked what this opportunity means to her.
"The easier question would really be, what doesn't this mean to me," she said. "I have always been a strong believer in the idea that anything is possible and finding out about this opportunity in the first place really solidified that.
"Paying for college was always a concern of mine, especially since it has always been my desire to go to college outside of the state and finding this scholarship meant finding a way to achieve just that.
"But most importantly I think this scholarship means I get to just focus on school and preparing myself the best I can without having to worry about how I will be able to afford coming back to school the next year. Which is huge.
"Overall I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity and certainly would not have been able to make it this far without the support of a countless number of people from my coaches, to my teachers, to even my employers. And I hope that this proves to other students in this town and even towns around us that anything truly is possible, even for a student in little Wyoming, because that is honestly the most important lesson I have learned through my life and through this process."
Hu was specific as well as to her choice to attend Vassar.
"I want to go to a small, academically exceptional liberal arts school where I can interact with a lot of passionate, intelligent students, and Vassar really checks all those boxes," she said. "Vassar was my first choice, so it's really crazy that they picked me, too.
"At the moment, I'm planning on pursuing media studies, but that is definitely susceptible to changing as I explore different pursuits throughout college. I ultimately just want to contribute to creating something impactful while studying and interacting with culture."
As far as her journey across country to New York, "It's terrifying," she said. "I'm really nervous about moving across the country and figuring out how to function as an adult human being on my own.
"I'm probably more excited than nervous though as moving far away has always kind of been my plan. I'll be a bit sad about leaving the town I've lived in for pretty much my whole life, but I'm really looking forward to this next step in my life."