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