“I achieved my dream … I would say to the scholarship donor: ‘You just don’t know what it means to people to make their dreams come true.’”
For Rachel Roberts, it seems as though she wrote hundreds of scholarship essays in her quest to attend Evangel University, a private Christian school in Missouri. “I hustled to get scholarships,” says the 2005 graduate of Cypress Lake High School. “I had plans and I was going to make them happen.”
Receiving the Lewis Barber Scholarship was a proud milestone – and a step toward her goal. “It was the first time as an adult I made something happen for me,” says Roberts. “I achieved my dream and went to the school I wanted. I would say to the scholarship donor: ‘You just don’t know what it means to people to make their dreams come true.’ This small donation changed me. It affected my life: I met my husband at that college.”
Roberts received a bachelor’s degree in American Sign Language and bible and returned to Southwest Florida upon graduation, using her sign language skills as a volunteer with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Center, communicating in medical emergencies and even during a surgery.
Since the birth of her daughter, she has taken a step back but “found a new calling” as the assistant head of school at Montessori School of Fort Myers. “I stumbled into this career,” she says. “I always needed a purpose and this school teaches kids to be good people. I know it’s something I want to do for the rest of my life.”
The Lewis Barber Scholarship is awarded to public or private high school graduates in the five-county region who pursue certification to teach deaf/blind or attend seminary/pre-seminary school to study church, Christian music or Christian education. Students must maintain satisfactory grades and acknowledge and express Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior