The Polk State College Foundation presented two students with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dream the Dream Scholarship awards at the 15th annual MLK Celebration for their academic achievements and inspiring essays on the civil rights movement.
Heidi Holzhauser, a Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision and Management student concentrating in Business Administration, and Mario Manning, an Associate in Arts student who plans to complete prerequisites to qualify for Polk State’s Nursing Program, each received scholarships worth up to $500.
“I was honored to receive this privilege and because of this, my dream is becoming a reality.”
— Heidi Holzhauser, Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision and Management student
“I was honored to receive this privilege and because of this, my dream is becoming a reality,” Holzhauser wrote in a thank-you letter to donors. “This scholarship will help me accomplish my goals in my career. This scholarship provides me with opportunities and will lighten the financial burden for my family. I am committed to my education and will continue to work hard.”
Dream the Dream Scholarship applicants must have an overall college grade-point average of 3.0 or greater and submit an essay about their academic and career goals, service to the community, and perspective on how the civil rights movement influenced the culture of the United States. Additionally, they must explain what the phrase “dream the dream” means to them.
Holzhauser wrote in her winning essay that “dream the dream” means that individuals can be anything they want to be, illustrating physical challenges that presented themselves at a young age and that she has fought to overcome.
“I completely lost the ability to control the right side of my body at the age of 7. This includes my leg, arm, hand, and even my speech. The trials and struggles that I went through to overcome the loss of my right side and fight to regain it made me who I am today,” she explained. “Being Hispanic with limits but knowing that I can dream or go after what I want without restrictions – I find that a blessing.”
Manning shared a similar appreciation for the phrase “dream the dream.”
“The first thing that comes to my mind is to think big… my thoughts and dreams are the only things that I have that cannot be taken away from me,” he wrote. “A dream is the foundation of a person being successful. Everyone who is successful started out with a dream. I figure that if I dream about something enough, I will eventually have put enough thought into that dream to make it a reality someday.”
“I am thankful for everything that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for while he was alive because if it had not been for him and all of the other civil rights activists, I would not be entitled to go to college.”
— Mario Manning, Associate in Arts student
Manning’s dream to serve as a nurse in New York City inspired him to enroll at Polk State, and he thanks the civil rights movement and the work of Dr. King for his ability to pursue his aspirations.
“I am thankful for everything that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for while he was alive because if it had not been for him and all of the other civil rights activists, I would not be entitled to go to college to become a nurse, and many of my thoughts would be dreams that would never come to reality,” he explained.
To donate to the Dream the Dream Scholarship, which the Polk State Foundation awards to students annually during the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion’s MLK Celebration, please visit foundation.polk.edu/mlk.