Mariner High students culls three college scholarships
A recent graduate of Mariner High School was awarded three scholarships to help her pursue her studies at Edison State College at the end of the month to become a dental hygienist.
Jenna Sheehan, 18, was awarded the National Multiple Sclerosis Scholarship, HOPE scholarship and the Take Stock in Children scholarship.
She said she received all three acceptance letters during the same week.
“I am very excited and grateful,” her mother Paula Sheehan said with tears in her eyes. “It’s amazing what Edison State College does for these kids.”
The National Multiple Sclerosis program was established in 2003 to help qualified students who have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis or have a parent with multiple sclerosis. The first year 36 scholars received a scholarship and this year $1 million was awarded to 639 scholars.
Jenna was one of seven recipients from the South Florida Chapter to be awarded the National Multiple Sclerosis Scholarship this year.
The scholarship provided her with $3,000, which Jenna said will help her pay for her tool kit and uniform for the program.
“When I think of Multiple Sclerosis, I think of the pain my mother lives with every day,” Jenna said. “My mother has been diagnosed with Systemic Lupus, Fibromyalgia and Multiple Sclerosis. Being the only child out of six miscarriages due to her diseases, I’m considered her true blessing.”
Since her father died five years ago, she has taken on the full responsibility of taking care of her mother, which has been hard both financially and emotionally.
Jenna said she now does the things that most people take advantage of, like doing simple housework.
“I never understood the pain she lived with until I was left to be her caregiver,” she said. “Every day is a struggle for her, but I do my best to help her out.”
The chores she undertakes change on a daily basis depending on how well her mother is feeling.
“Some days she can’t open an envelope because her hands are shaking,” Jenna said.
Out of 300 applications, Jenna was one of 80 students who was chosen for the HOPE scholarship.
“I am really grateful,” Jenna said. “It is the best scholarship out there.”
She found out about the scholarship through her counselors at Mariner High. Jenna said she sat through some very involved interviews and had to write multiple essays to be considered for the scholarship.
The scholarship will cover up to four years of college, she said, which will help her pay for tuition and books, along with having a little extra spending money.
To maintain the scholarship, she has to take 12 credit hours per semester, along with having at least 16 volunteer hours for each semester, along with maintaining a 2.5 grade point average.
Take Stock in Children, a non-profit organization, provides a mentor for students who are at risk, along with scholarships for low income students.
To be considered for the scholarship, students have to become a part of the organization their freshman year of high school.
Jenna took dual enrollment courses while attending Mariner High this past year, which earned her credit for composition one and two, trigonometry, college algebra, biology and lab.
Jenna will attend Edison State College at the end of the month, which is cause for both excitement and some nervousness, she said.