For DonorsFor Applicants

Deborah Thomas Scholarship Award

Funded by
1 winner$500
In Review
Application Deadline
Jun 15, 2024
Winners Announced
Jul 15, 2024
Education Level
High School
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
High school junior or senior
Field of Study:
Business, medicine, computer science, or art

Many high school students are full of ambition and potential yet are held back due to their financial circumstances. 

Receiving a full academic scholarship is difficult, leaving many students with unmet financial need. As more students become wary of taking on student debt due to high interest rates and the possibility of default, many prospective students are discouraged from pursuing further education.  

This scholarship aims to honor the life of Deborah Thomas by supporting students who are seeking higher education so they have the resources necessary to complete their degrees.

Any high school junior or senior who is pursuing business, medicine, computer science, or art may apply for this scholarship, and students with 3.0 GPAs or higher are preferred.

To apply, tell us how you plan to make a positive difference in the world through your career.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Potential, Drive
Published January 23, 2024
Essay Topic

How do you plan to make a positive impact on the world through your career choice and aspirations?

400–600 words

Winning Application

Hannah Karanick
Sage Oak Charter SchoolAnaheim, CA
I remember seeing his eyes well up with tears as the other kids teased him for his hygiene and clothes. I was only in second grade, but the teasing I witnessed that day was etched in my mind. When I got home from school, I asked my parents if we could help my classmate. He and his younger sister became my foster siblings within a few weeks. Over my lifetime, I've had fifteen foster siblings. Their stories of hardship, from living in abusive homes to not knowing when their next meal would be, have taught me compassion and patience. Their stories have changed my goals for my own life, too. Rather than following my entrepreneurial drive to create a company for profit, my life's goal is to create an influential charity for children. I have done that on a small scale in my community with my charity, Hannah's Helpful Hands, which provides basic necessities to low-income youth in twelve elementary schools. My charity is an anonymous closet within the schools that provides toiletry bags, laundry supplies, new clothes, quilts made by my grandma, backpacks, and gift cards for new shoes. I restock the closet weekly and fundraise to keep the closet full. This vital endeavor has taught me leadership, communication skills, and perseverance. As I have overcome many obstacles, I have learned that I must deliberately prepare myself to continue my story as a champion for charities and their essential work. My college education will be an invaluable asset to my goal of creating a successful and sustainable charity that can positively impact my community. Through my studies, I will better understand the social issues and trends impacting the children in my community and the larger national environment. With this knowledge, I will better create an effective strategy for tackling these issues. I will also use my college education to gain the skills to manage a charity effectively. My studies will provide me with the necessary knowledge of budgeting, fundraising, marketing, and communications, as well as the legal and ethical considerations that come with running a charity. I will also be able to develop a strong network of contacts, locally and nationally, to help me reach my goals. Ultimately, my college education will provide me with the tools and resources needed to create a charity that can make a lasting, positive impact on my community. With a strong understanding of the social issues and trends impacting children, as well as the skills and connections necessary to manage a charity effectively, I will be able to create a charity that makes a real difference in the lives of those in need. My foster siblings have forever changed my young life; they were the kickstart in my journey to help those less fortunate than me. I have become more grateful for the things I once took for granted, and in return, I am motivated to use that gratitude to help as many young lives as possible. My future college education will help me make an even bigger positive impact on my community by providing me with the necessary knowledge and skills to create and operate a successful charity. I am thrilled that my university path in Communications and Business will be a growth opportunity for greater training, mentorship, and vision.
Isabella Wall
Cornerstone Christian AcademyPainesville, OH
Everyone deserves a chance to accomplish all they are capable of. Through small, consistent, and personal actions I believe anyone can reach their fullest potential. I intend to follow alongside people every day, and with each small decision, help them achieve their goals. Through financial advising and perhaps a law degree I will help small and large businesses alike achieve their personal financial goals while not compromising the integrity of their values. I want to help take off the burden of worrying about what to invest in or whether or not we have the budget to pay for something. I want those gifted with the ability to be creative and think up big projects to be able to focus on that, while I focus on the logistics and financial aspects of things. I especially would love to make sure the employees get compensated fairly and that all investments and purchases are from sustainable companies. Beyond just financial help, I would like to ensure that big companies would give back to members of their community. Young people need someone to believe in them and show them not only that they can do it, but they're willing to help, financially or otherwise. Creating a partnership with large companies that donate to the financial education of teens would be something that I would work on. I would take the knowledge acquired by working in the corporate world and connecting that network to the young people in my community. Aside from my professional work life, I would also like to create a mentorship program for young adults (ages 16-24) where I and other certified professionals would walk alongside and assist them through high school and into a stable financial situation through a partnership. I would love to personally help young women especially achieve their goals. There are so many brilliant people in the world who simply don’t know the right people to achieve the incredible things they are capable of. Having personally experienced the challenges of navigating the college and admissions systems, I understand the importance of dedicated guidance in realizing one's dreams. Through Matriculate, however, having someone who is dedicated to personally helping me. Having someone who’s gone through this successfully, and is here to work with me specifically makes the biggest difference in the world. I hope to replicate that confidence in those my program would work with. I intend to bridge the gap between the networking of the corporate world and those underprivileged boys and girls. I would create workshops, classes, online webinars, and books to inspire and instruct those who don’t have family members or mentors in their life to teach these crucial tricks and tips. Professionally and personally, I am driven by a deep commitment to creating lasting change. I am determined to go beyond surface-level assistance and address the core issues that hinder the progress of young individuals. In my professional capacity, I will actively contribute to my company's financial and investment management, enabling creative thinkers to shine and bring their ideas to fruition. Through this experience, I will cultivate valuable relationships and gather insights that I will eagerly share with others to foster education and empowerment. On a personal level, I will dedicate myself to establishing comprehensive mentorship programs for motivated students, walking alongside them for years, and providing step-by-step guidance toward achieving financial stability. I firmly believe that by working together, we can build a more inclusive and equitable society where every young person has the tools and support they need to succeed.
Alexandria Habimana
Texas A&M University- College StationFrisco, TX
Growing up, I always knew I wanted to have a big impact on the world, however, it wasn’t until recently that I realized how: a plastic surgeon. Medicine has always caught my eye because of the impact it makes on the community, especially plastic surgeons. From a young age, I knew that whatever occupation I pursued, I wanted it to be something that makes an effect on something bigger than myself. Medicine is an ever-evolving field adapting to the needs of patients and can essentially change the world and I strive to be a part of that. With this in mind, it was a no-brainer to pursue a college degree, specifically a degree in psychology. I find the impact someone’s psychological status has on a person intriguing, and crave learning more. Mental health ultimately affects a person psychologically and physically. In the United State, almost fifty percent of adults undergo a mental illness in their lifetime. By understanding the human mind and behavior, I can have a positive effect on someone’s life. A college degree is the first step on my path to becoming a plastic surgeon so I can transform lives, one surgery at a time. From bettering someone’s way of life to improving someone’s confidence by fixing insecurities, plastic surgeons are evidently superheroes. Though a negative stigma surrounding plastic surgery is evident, plastic surgery benefits the lives of thousands of people. While Brazilian butt lifts and boob jobs remain at the forefront of plastic surgery, what does not get talked about enough are the breast cancer and cleft palate patients. For women who have conquered breast cancer, breast reconstruction can return their breast back to a natural state, improving the self-esteem and confidence amongst thousands of women. For people born with cleft palates, plastic surgery is a way severely improve their lifestyle. Plastic surgery can not only improve their visual defects, but also improve their breathing, speech, and jaw alignment. As a plastic surgeon, I would be able to treat patients and enhance their quality of life. Not only do I want to be a part of the medical field, but I also want to help make a difference in the world as a plastic surgeon. Promoting and advocating the benefits of plastic surgery, I want to help remove the negative stigma that surrounds it. I would bring awareness to breast cancer and cleft palate patients and highlight and celebrate what they have overcome. Not all heroes wear capes; some wear scrubs.
Cole Carnahan
Saint Mary's College of CaliforniaLivermore, CA
We as a human race must hold onto core values that allow us to be changemakers, Fearless, Accountable, Memorable, Inspiring and You(someone who makes a difference)-- a family! Jesus lives in me and His love and grace can be given to our community/family through acts of kindness. I’m humbled by the opportunity to apply for Deborah Thomas Scholarship. In my life giving back to humanity and always searched for ways to help those in need through grace and generosity. My great-grandparents came to this country working in the fields of the Central Valley and the Monterey Coast. Although they harvested food for others, food was scarce on their own table. Poverty plagued our family for three generations, but education changed our legacy. My mom is a public school teacher and continues to battle illiteracy in her classroom. This scholarship will enable me to continue on Christ’s path at Saint Mary’s College in the Pre-Med Program this Fall. Doctors are fearless! I learned to be fearless and forge ahead when I shattered my finger playing baseball. My fracture made me question all areas of my life. What I know now, is the treatment that I received from my medical team inspired me. They put me back together in more ways than one. I also learned to be more accountable to God and serve my community. I became more memorable and was inspired to make lasting impressions on those around me. I began to listen closely to God’s voice-–I became a better version of me! I began serving weekly in the Children's Ministry, feeding the hungry at Open Heart Kitchen and tutoring in my high school's Learning Center. “You(I)” must always put your own needs aside and bring the needs of those around you to the forefront. My injury opened my eyes to listening to others with intention. Last year, one of my classmates went missing. He was atop of our building ready to take his life. “You matter and I am here for you.” He fell into my arms. That day changed me! I’m meant to help others, and to pursue medicine. Doctors have the ability to actively impact lives everyday. I hope to practice in the Central Valley and give back to the community where my family came to California. I know that there is a direct link between healthy living and food. It is my dream to one day have a medical practice that donates food boxes to families in need, one plate at a time. I look forward to giving back to California, making a positive impact on those around me and carrying on the legacy of positivity to others. Thank you for your consideration.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Jun 15, 2024. Winners will be announced on Jul 15, 2024.

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