Bridging The Dream – Bryana’s Story | Student Loans | Sallie Mae ®

Bridging The Dream – Bryana’s Story | Student Loans | Sallie Mae ®


BRYANA: People have dreams to become an actress
or things like that… going to college has been my dream… BRYANA: My parents got divorced at the age
of two … my mom has been my rock since everything… Her house is her sanctuary pretty much…
My mom has it very nice ‘n’ tidy… It’s considered a trailer; they’re not the ones
that you could roll on wheels. It’s planted on the ground. I’ve been tutoring since
actually, elementary school. Geometry, Algebra, Algebra One, Algebra Two. You know, you name
it, the subject… I tutor it, so… [LAUGHTER…] LISA SOLOVAY: Bryana has such a heart for
service. I don’t know if, if it’s because of her predicament that she feels like she
needs help so she feels like she can help others… BRYANA: The Do Something Club is a national
organization; you focus on what your community problems are and you try to put a fix to them.
I absolutely love it; it always puts a smile on my face when we have meetings and I see
that these students are changing… BRYANA: We’re doing good. I haven’t seen
you forever… BACK TO INTERVIEW: BRYANA: They’re realizing
that they can actually be a change in something big. GINA CARLTON: Nothing’s ever been handed
to Bryana; I think she’s always had to work hard for everything. She hasn’t had a [sic]
easy financial situation at home. She’s dealt with her mom losing her job. I’m like
amazed at as much as she’s gone through and still stay so composed and still takes
care of everything she has to take care of. FEMALE1: Unless she tells you what her situation
is, you would never know… BRYANA: I can remember kindergarten – we
were all goin’ around, you know, ”State your name, say what neighborhood you live
in so you could make friends…” I said, “Hi, I’m Bryana and I live in Tolly [PHONETIC…]
Lakes…” And everybody was like, “What’s Tolly Lakes?“ I was like, “Oh, it’s
a neighborhood right across…” And they’re like, “Oh, is that a house!” I’m like,
”No. I live in a… in a little trailer!” I have been called trailer trash, homeless,
low life… pretty much any stereotype for a Hispanic who has divorced parents and lives
in a trailer… I’ve heard about [INAUDIBLE PHRASE…] yeah, it hurts —but
uhm, it’s made me really strong. As I’m older, it doesn’t affect me as much. It’s
not like a pushback; it’s more of a pushforward now, like, alright, what can I do to earn
something and make things happen again?” RICH GONZALEZ: Bryana’s future looks very
bright; she wants to evolve; she wants to go into the medical field. When you have somebody
like that, in (?) that type of caliber, you know you have someone special…
02:35 BRYANA: I volunteer at a couple of hospitals;
in high school, I’ve been enrolled in Health Science One, Health Science Two and EMR, which
is Emergency Medical Responder. I’ve been learning first aid certification, CPR certification,
IVs, injections – things like that – so that class is really how I’ve been preparing
myself for the nursing field. My junior year in my English class, a student next to me
had a seizure… [PAUSE…]… you know, I was the only one who actually acted to do
something and at least I did something ‘cause I know if we all just stood there frozen,
she might not be here today… Right in that moment like I in myself I already knew what
I wanted to be. The biggest obstacle is financially, you know, I would love to be able to go to
one of the top medical schools but because of my financial restraint, I have to find
colleges that are in my range but somehow, someway, I’ll make it work to actually go
to a university. 03:31
ANA: College is important because it’s the only way that you could go forward in life
and have everything that you want and be who you want to be. BRYANA: I’m trying’ to tutor as much as
I can my senior year…[PAUSE…]… Scholarships are my biggest, you know, focus, even though
there’s no guarantee with them… FEMALE1: It’s sometimes hard when you’re
a counselor with six hundred plus seniors. You wanna find the best person and sometimes
you can’t; I was lucky that I had that relationship with her; I knew that she was a great student
and I knew that she did have this financial concern, which is what the scholarship was
asking me: “Do you now a student that needs help?” I nominated Bryana for the scholarship.
And we had gotten a standard email saying, “Thank you…” so I kinda thought that
was the end of the road. When Sallie Mae called me and told me that she was one of the four
finalists in the nation, I was completely taken aback. I was crying myself and then
I called Bryana and I had her come to my office. BRYANA: I got called down to the Guidance
Office and everybody was bawling and I thought someone died! I was like, ”Why is everybody
crying and hugging me? This is not normal!” She just says, like, “You remember that,
you know, Sallie Mae, uhm, scholarship thing? I got an email and they asked me just to send
a hundred word essay…” That’s when it hit me: “Oh my gosh…” I started crying,
too… [LAUGHTER…]…and she’s like, “You are one of the four finalists…” She made
me believe that I can actually go to college and earn an education that, you know, I’ve
been dreaming about… FEMALE1: It’s gonna mean a lot more to her
to have this scholarship than it would to your average kid and I think it would make
a world of difference for her… BRYANA: In ten years, I hope to see myself
working as a nurse, putting on my scrubs and being able to support those around me in my
life. It’s crazy! Just a hundred words can literally change my life.

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