|Sutton applied to become a Dell Scholar through her AVID class.|
To make financial matters worse, Sutton started suffering from escalated symptoms of Chiari malformation, a defect in the area of the back of the head where the brain and spine meet. It was causing her to experience blackouts, heart palpitations, numbness, and sleep paralysis. She needed brain surgery to help alleviate those problems.
“I felt really awful about it because I knew we couldn’t afford the surgery, but the surgery was something I needed to function properly,” said Sutton. “We already couldn’t afford groceries and things like that, so it worsened the financial burden.”
Sutton didn’t let her situation determine her future. She kept working hard in her classes, maintained a 3.81 GPA, and scored high on the SAT and ACT college entrance exams.
As a requirement for her AVID class at Timberview High, Sutton applied to become a Dell Scholar. Dell Scholars are students who have overcome significant obstacles to pursue their educations. Designees receive $20,000 in scholarship money, a laptop computer, textbook credits, and ongoing emotional support.
“I was like ‘oh my goodness! $20,000 is so much,’” Sutton recalled. “I can now have a better life than the one I was given. My future’s going to be better.”
Sutton applied for the University of Texas at Arlington and was able to get enough money for her college tuition through grants and other scholarships. The money from the Dell Scholars Program will allow her to live on campus and save up for a possible master’s degree.
The senior wants to encourage other students in her situation to not give up and continue to apply themselves.
“It’s possible,” said Sutton. “I didn’t think I would. Sometimes you’ll feel intimidated, but it’s truly worth it in the end.”