A South Florida student is getting a big help toward her college education with a full-ride scholarship following her graduation from Booker T. Washington High School.
Not only has Alexis Gabriel proven to be worthy of the scholarship because of her grades, she has also overcome some struggles in her personal life to be at the top of her class.
The next four years just got a lot more affordable for Gabriel thanks to the Biscayne Bay Kiwanis Club. The 18-year-old can now attend Miami-Dade College with a scholarship worth about $30,000.
"I didn't expect it but I'm excited because I don't have to pay for college, and I just wanna make my mom proud," Gabriel said.
Gabriel's mom didn't get to see her daughter accept the scholarship on stage. She's battling colon cancer and is in the hospital, so Gabriel surprised her with a phone call.
Graduating with a 4.3 GPA, Gabriel is taking five AP classes and has logged more than 1,000 hours of community service in the last four years.
"This one particular student stood out for everything she's overcome, everything she's accomplished, and the need, the financial need, to be able to hand her that ticket and to be able to give her the opportunity to succeed," said Rick Freedman, chairman of the Kiwanis Club's scholarship committee.
Gabriel wants to be a neonatal nurse some day because she loves babies and loves to help people. She also wants to study close to home so she can help her sick mother.
"It's gonna change everything, because I'm gonna be the first one to college," she said.
Gabriel hopes it will show her family that it doesn't matter where you come from, but hard work can get you where you want to go.