Kayla Cory from Windsor Heights, Iowa, has won a full-tuition Hero Behind the Hero scholarship from Waldorf College.
A program unique to Waldorf, the Hero Behind the Hero scholarship is awarded to spouses or children of active military or public safety personnel, including firefighters, law enforcement officers, EMTs, and dispatchers. “Waldorf is proud to acknowledge and honor the families that stand behind our nation’s heroes,” said Waldorf College president Dr. Bob Alsop. Cory is one of the two recipients of the scholarship.
For Cory, working in public safety is a family tradition. When asked which of her family members are involved with emergency services, Cory responded with a laugh, “It’s more like which ones aren’t.” Her father has worked for the Polk City Fire Department for 25 years, and her grandfather served in Desert Storm and is a former Polk City Fire Department Fire Chief. An uncle is on the Ankeny Fire Department, and even her mother and grandmother were firefighters at one point.
The scholarship will help Cory, 17, further her education and break new ground. “I’ll be the first person in my family to go to college, so this scholarship means everything,” explained Cory.
An active member of her church youth group, Cory attended Valley High School in West Des Moines, where she was a member of the varsity bowling team. She will continue playing this fall as a member of the Waldorf Warriors women’s bowling team.
Cory plans to study biology at Waldorf and is considering becoming a physical chemist one day. While she is not sure if she will follow in the family tradition of firefighting, she has not decided against public service. “I’ve thought about it, but I’m not quite sure yet. It would be an amazing thing to tell my kids someday that their mom helped save lives,” said Cory.
Waldorf College created the Hero Behind the Hero Scholarship to acknowledge the sacrifices made by first responders and our nation’s defenders. A total of 12 scholarships are awarded every year, 10 to online students and two to residential students. For residential students, the Hero Behind the Hero Scholarship works with other grants and scholarships to ensure tuition is covered for a full four years or 128 semester hours, whichever comes first.
Residential applicants must also meet all regular Waldorf College admission requirements. Selected individuals must maintain a 3.0 overall GPA, remain in good standing, and continue to be enrolled in a Waldorf degree program to maintain eligibility for the scholarship. Current Waldorf students require a 3.0 overall GPA to be considered.
In addition to meeting admission requirements, Hero Behind the Hero Scholarship applicants are also required to write an essay response to this question: “Explain how the opportunity to continue your education through the Hero Behind the Hero Scholarship Program would change your life.”
Cory is the daughter of Tim Cory of Polk City, Iowa, and Michelle Cory of Windsor Heights.
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