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A church full of students, staff and parents rose Wednesday to applaud Madeline Hobbs as she received a $1,500 scholarship.
Hobbs, one of nine winners of the Dream Out Loud Challenge, is only 6 years old.
“It’s pretty amazing to be a first grader and get a scholarship fund like that,” said Matthew Hobbs, Madeline’s father. “I think it’s great that they offered this soon to start for college.”
The 2012 Dream Out Loud Challenge, sponsored by the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority, awarded students from kindergarten to sixth grade a scholarship account as well as a $500 cash award to their schools.
The scholarship money comes from the state 529 tax plan, which helps families set aside money for higher education.
Students from all over the state submitted drawings, poems, videos or essays that answered the question, “How will I change the world after I go to college?”
Madeline’s submission was a drawing of a teacher inspired by her own teacher at St. James Catholic Regional School, Megan Berry. Madeline said she wants to grow up and be a teacher, too.
“I’m just so excited to have been that much of an inspiration for Madeline, but truly, every day you start to realize that your students are such an inspiration for you,” Berry said. “Having praise come from people like Madeline and her parents just makes me want to go above and beyond for their children.”
Cara Hobbs, Madeline’s mother, said her daughter was enamored with Berry’s “very enthusiastic” teaching style. Berry said she tries to keep her students engaged through a variety of hands-on activities.
“We try not to focus so much on seat work,” she said. “I use and incorporate a lot of music and movement into our learning time.”
Jo Newton, west central Kentucky outreach Counselor of KHEAA who presented the award to Madeline, said the Dream Out Loud Challenge is the most successful promotion for the Kentucky Education Savings Plan Trust, yielding more than 1,200 entries from 92 counties this year.
The challenge is designed to teach children the importance of saving for future endeavors.
“I think it’s good for kids to have responsibility in earning their own way through college,” Cara Hobbs said.
Elizabeth Beilman can be reached at (270) 505-1740 or firstname.lastname@example.org.