For DonorsFor Applicants

Laura Thorne Memorial Scholarship

1 winner$2,000
Next Application Deadline
Nov 1, 2023
Next Winners Announced
Dec 1, 2023
Education Level
High School, Undergraduate
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
High school senior or undergraduate
Special Education
Affected by cancer: personally or someone close to you

Laura Thorne was an incredible special education teacher who gave her all to students and made a meaningful difference in their lives. Laura passed away at an early age after her battle with cancer.

Special education teachers serve their students in a unique way and help strengthen their school’s community. The Laura Thorne Memorial Scholarship will support students who are pursuing a career in special education and who have been affected by cancer. 

High school seniors or undergraduate students are eligible to apply if they are pursuing a career as a special education teacher, have volunteer experience, and have had cancer affect them directly or someone close to them. Preference will be given to first generation college students. To apply, write about how cancer has had an impact on your life and why you are passionate about becoming a special education teacher.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, boldest profile
Published February 6, 2023
Essay Topic

How has cancer affected your life and educational goals? Why are you passionate about pursuing a career in special education?

400–600 words

Winning Application

Alexis Bumbarger
Grand Canyon UniversityClearfield, PA
Cancer has significantly impacted my life because my mom was diagnosed with stage 3 small cell carcinoma in January of 2022. The most devastating part of seeing someone you love suffer from cancer is watching how it changes them. There are the physical aspects, of course, because chemotherapy and radiation treatment takes a heavy toll. My mom is different after her cancer but I’m different now too. I’ve felt the pressure of trying to stay strong for her and for my family. I’ve felt guilty for the moments of frustration, or even anger, that I’ve felt while we’ve all been going through this. I didn’t experience the physical reality of cancer but the emotional rollercoaster of it has changed me and my family forever. In some ways, it’s made us stronger and closer than before. It’s also challenged us in ways we couldn’t have imagined. My mother's diagnosis of cancer has also affected my educational goals as well. It affected my mental health significantly. It impacted my motivation and power to complete my schoolwork and work my full-time job as a paraprofessional. The only thing that was on my mind during the long six months was if my mom was going to push through her cancer and live another day. I was not interested in my grades or attendance. I remember driving to work one day and I received a text message from my mom. She told me that she was not ready to leave me yet because she wanted to see me become a dedicated, loving, unique special education teacher one day. After that text message, I was determined to be the best college student, paraprofessional, and daughter just for my mother. Ever since I was a little girl, I have always wanted to become a teacher of some sort. I would play school every day with my dolls, stuffed animals, and my mom. She always said that I would be a teacher one day. Pursuing special education has shaped my outlook on life. Our children are our future, and they need to be prepared for the future or they will not be successful in the working world. Teaching makes a difference in them because it gives them tools to help them be successful in the future. I would like to tell you why I would like to pursue a special education teacher and what has led me to this decision and why I want to become a teacher. I have chosen to become a teacher because I myself am a product of someone whom I consider to be the best teacher in the world. Being a special education teacher is a privilege. I am happy to say I get to be part of an amazing group of professionals that are dedicated to learning and growing as teachers. I am part of a unique group of people that tackle challenges with grace and style and know how to hustle when we need to. Special education teachers are a unique bunch; we don’t stop at “no,” and are willing to do anything for our students. Lastly, the amazing part about becoming a teacher is that you get to see the impact you have on your students each and every day. When a child who is resistant to personal touch comes up and gently hugs you, you know you’ve impacted that child’s life in a real way. Celebrating small victories like these in a student’s life can have a large impact on their overall success. This is why I am so passionate about pursuing a career in special education.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Nov 1, 2023. Winners will be announced on Dec 1, 2023.

This scholarship has been awarded, but we have hundreds more!
Find a perfect scholarship now