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Sophie Mitchell is proof that when one dreams out loud, those dreams can become a reality.
Mitchell, a fourth-grader at Heartland Elementary School, was awarded a $1,500 college savings account through the Dream Out Loud Challenge sponsored by the Kentucky Education Savings Plan Trust, part of the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority.
Heartland Elementary also received $500 for Mitchell’s award.
Heartland students and Mitchell’s family gathered to see her receive her award, including her father, who watched via Skype from Afghanistan.
Students in kindergarten through sixth grade from around the state entered poems, essays, videos and drawings in response to the question, “How will I change the world after college?” Winners were chosen in three groups of school grades, one each for poetry and essay, drawing and video entries.
Mitchell worked with teacher Kelly Cox to create a video about her goal to become a photojournalist. The 30-second clip introduced Mitchell and simulated her taking photos around the world. Her video said she wanted to focus her photos on the needs of people. Her love of taking photos is what led her to decide on that career.
Cox had assisted a student in entering the contest in the past, and she wanted to try again with Mitchell.
“She truly is just an exceptional young lady,” Cox said.
Mitchell said her mother told her she had won the contest and the money, which she wasn’t expecting.
“It was pretty shocking and I was so happy,” she said.
There were more than 1,400 entries from 90 counties in Kentucky, said David Lawhorn, an early childhood development scholarship coordinator with KESPT. Lawhorn presented Mitchell her check, as well as the one to the school.
The contest is designed to promote family discussions about students attending college and how to pay for it, Lawhorn said.
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or email@example.com.