Houston High School Student Surprised with $25,000 Scholarship from Sallie Mae

Essence Duplechain, a senior at Westbury High School, was surprised with a $25,000 Bridging the Dream Scholarship from Sallie Mae, the nations saving, planning, and paying for college company. Duplechain was greeted by Sallie Mae representatives during an assembly on college preparedness. Westbury High School principal Susan Monaghan, school counselor Laura Dew, who nominated her for the scholarship, and members of Duplechains family were also on hand for the announcement.

Duplechain is one of seven $25,000 Sallie Mae Bridging the Dream Scholarship recipients nationwide. The scholarship recognizes high school juniors and seniors who excel in academics, athletics, community service, or school activities, but may face personal or financial challenges when looking to fulfill their college dreams. Since 2016, Sallie Mae has awarded more than $300,000 in scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students through the Bridging the Dream Scholarship Program. This year, $175,000 will be awarded, including more than $40,000 raised directly by employees.

Im so amazed to be receiving this $25,000 scholarship from Sallie Mae, said Duplechain. I wouldnt be where I am without the support and sacrifices of my family. I always hoped I could become that person who would give them reason to believe in the future. I know this scholarship will go a long way in helping to pay for college and doing just that.

After overcoming a series of personal challenges, Duplechain will be the first in her family to attend college. A member of the National Honor Society, she is set to graduate with a 3.95 GPA, and is in the top five percent of her senior class. In addition to a rigorous academic course load of AP and dual credit classes, Duplechain also participates on the schools cheer and track and field teams. She plans to pursue a career in physical therapy.

I have the highest level of respect for Essence. She is a student who prioritizes her academics, but always has a warm heart and a giving spirit, said Dew. Essence is a person of great integrity, and Im thrilled to know that Sallie Mae recognizes the value of her contributions. Im so excited to see what she will do in the future.

This Bridging the Dream Scholarship Program gives Sallie Mae employees the ability to meet and put a spotlight on students, like Essence, who go above and beyond, said Sergio Gonzalez, director, Sallie Mae. The program is central to our mission and reaffirms that were on the right track in equipping aspiring minds with the tools they need to make college happen. We know Essence will go on to do incredible things, making her family and community members even more proud than they already are.

For more information about Sallie Maes Bridging the Dream Scholarships, visit SallieMae.com/BridgingTheDream, or join the conversation by using #BridgingTheDream.

For more information about saving, planning, and paying for college, visit SallieMae.com.

Sallie Mae (Nasdaq: SLM) is the nations saving, planning, and paying for college company. Whether college is a long way off or just around the corner, Sallie Mae offers products that promote responsible personal finance, including private education loans, free scholarship search tools, free college financial planning tools, and online retail banking. Learn more at SallieMae.com. Commonly known as Sallie Mae, SLM Corporation and its subsidiaries are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.

Antoine Oakley
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(302) 509-9464 (cell)
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