Southeast Missouri State University freshman Dai’Sha Walker recently won a $20,000 scholarship through a partnership between Get Schooled and MTV’s Total Request Live and was presented the award during an appearance on MTV’s TRL show.
Walker was one of only five students selected to receive the scholarship from more than 2,700 applicants nationally.
“To me, this scholarship means that I have enough potential to reach my goals, and enough people believed in my cause,” said Walker. “I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. My younger brother and I were raised by my grandmother when our mother died two days before her birthday. My father was never in my life, and the three of us made it along okay until my grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Despite everything that I went through, I stayed strong and remained an ‘A’ student because I knew that I was more than what I had been through.”
Walker, a graduate of Central Visual and Performing Arts High School in St. Louis, competed for the scholarship after submitting an essay titled, “How does your neighborhood define who you are?” The following is an excerpt from her winning essay:
“I come from a neighborhood where a support system doesn’t exist, and a male role model in the house is like seeing a dog walk on its hind legs, a neighborhood where you attempt to be your own motivation, and you learn to live off nothing to your name but a couple of dollars and a vivid dream of success that you’re constantly being told is unattainable. I’ve witnessed mothers crying, brothers dying and the most intelligent people become products of their environment because they thought the ‘street cred’ would be more defining. In the words of a quote I live by, ‘Whether it pushed me or pulled me, drained me or fueled me, loved me or left me, hurt me or helped me, my neighborhood is a part of my growth.”
As a finalist for the scholarship, Walker was flown to New York, and as a winner of the scholarship, she appeared on the TRL program.
“It was amazing in New York. The scenery was beautiful, but it was nothing like Missouri. It is more expensive, and the people are totally different. It literally is the city that never sleeps,” said Walker. “Being on television was fun! I got to meet celebrities, and I met a lot of people who wanted to see me win. I feel like this experience has opened so many doors for me.”
Walker is an active participant in Southeast’s Academic Support Centers and participated in College Bound St. Louis and the St. Louis Internship Program.
Get Schooled, which helped facilitate the scholarship, is a new innovative company that uses their digital platform and gamification to empower and engage young people to give them the inspiration and tools to get the education they need to succeed. Get Schooled provides information about financial aid, scholarships and jobs that help offset the cost of higher education.