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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Brighton High graduate awarded foundation college scholarship

Aug 28, 2017 11:50AM ● By Jana Klopsch

Brighton High graduate Cassandra Hatcher joins other Canyons graduates who received the Bright Star scholarship from the Canyons Education Foundation. (Canyons School District)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

This fall, Brighton High graduate Cassandra Hatcher may be studying business at Salt Lake Community College, thanks to the help of the Canyons Education Foundation.

Cassandra, who wants to become an entrepreneur, received the Canyons Education Foundation’s $1,000 Bright Star scholarship.

“I want to create my own business, maybe a healthy fast food place, as well as either be a yoga instructor or a physical therapist,” she said.

Cassandra was one of six students who was awarded a scholarship, which was based on their abilities to overcome difficulties in their lives, said Foundation Officer Laura Barlow.

“We awarded the scholarships to students who we see a difference in their life, whether it’s improving their grades, or overcoming a trial in their lives,” Barlow said. “Many students have a need and through the scholarship, we hope we’re able to help them succeed in their future.”

This is the second year Canyons Education Foundation has awarded scholarships.

Cassandra said while working with a school counselor, she learned about the scholarship, and later, that she won it.

“I was really excited and super shocked,” she said. “I knew I had improved my grades and stepped up my game, but I didn’t know I’d get a special award for that.”

Cassandra said while in high school, she started hanging with the wrong group of friends.

“I was involved in the wrong crowd and learned how I allowed them to influence me to skip school, do crazy things and be a follower. Then, one day, a friend pulled me away and helped me create a better lifestyle. I went from a D student to an honor roll student,” she said.

Cassandra said that although her parents tried to make her understand her choices, she didn’t listen to them. Getting back on track came after she moved out of the house and was living on her own with her friend.

“I realized it was tough going to school, being a nanny, buying my own groceries and car insurance. It was tough, but I learned it. Before I hung out with the wrong crowd, I used to run cross country, but then I held back from things I loved doing. I’m back running now, but I couldn’t compete last year because of my grades. That, too, was a wake-up call,” she said.

Through her high school career, Cassandra credits government and history teacher Stephanie Isley for helping her get through her problems.

“She’s the best teacher ever. She’s helped so many kids graduate who have had problems like I have. She works with us, even on her own time. When she notices I’m slipping on turning in an assignment or missing school, she’s upset and keeps me motivated and on track. She’s one I have to thank for helping me graduate so I can become what I want to,” she said.

At her school’s senior awards assembly, the scholarship information was presented to her in front of her peers. She also was awarded a large cardboard check at the Canyons Education Foundation Spring Gala.

At the gala, other Bright Star winners were recognized — Jennifer Pomeroy, from Alta High; Hailee Thorn, from Corner Canyon High; Danielle Coccimiglio, from Hillcrest High; and Ismael Zarate-Guillen, from Jordan High. Alta High’s Vinnie Vala’au received the Rising Star scholarship.