Dreams of an Education Become Reality, Thanks to Last Dollar Scholarship
Cheyenne Clawson is set to graduate next year and make a better tomorrow for daughter Annabelle.
Rocks with jagged edges are no match for the hands of Annabelle Clawson. With a giggle and a firm grip, the gray ones, the red ones, the shiny and matte ones are scooped up in whatever the 4-year-old can muster, but mainly, her own two small hands.
The smile that comes afterward as she looks to her mother for, “a job well done,” is the kind of moment that Cheyenne Clawson lives for: when her child finds joy in the great outdoors and its endless possibilities.
It’s something Cheyenne shares with her daughter. A double major in geology and biology, this Canton mom is driven by nature, its cycles and rhythms. Cheyenne joins its primitive dance as she harkens her Native American ancestors whenever she gets a chance; namely, around drum circles at area festivals and historical reenactments.
“In everything that I do, Annabelle is my great motivator,” Cheyenne said. “She keeps me working to create a better life for her.”
Annabelle was born with a rare genetic disorder, septo-optic dysplasia, which affects early brain development including the optic nerves. She has undergone surgeries to restore limited vision, although Annabelle is legally blind.
This left Cheyenne at a crossroads. Facing major financial issues, including her daughter’s care, all signs pointed to dropping out of college.
“But I didn’t have another game plan, except continue to work toward my degree,” Cheyenne explained. “Annabelle’s pregnancy was difficult, and I had to retake some of those classes, consuming a large portion of my financial aid. Now, I’m within a year of graduating and my financial aid is running out. When I discovered that I might not have enough to graduate, I fell apart. To be so close, finally, and not be able to finish...”
Cheyenne turned to Kent State Stark’s financial aid representatives for help.
“I was nominated for the Last Dollar Scholarship, and I got it,” she said. “I cried in relief.”
Set to graduate next fall, Cheyenne is a firm believer in destiny.
“Everything happens for a reason, you know? You never know how one decision can so positively impact the life of another.”
It is these connections that nature swiftly depends upon, as certain as the changing seasons. Or the whisper of the wind. “No one can see it, but we know it’s there,” Cheyenne assures Annabelle as a gust kicks up some fallen leaves, changing their course.
And there are the tangible things that can be seen. Like the rocks used to build fairy castles by a 4-year-old girl. Their sharp, imperfect edges intertwine to create something beautiful. A place for capturing wishes and holding on tight, with two small hands, to the better future that lies ahead.
Make a wish come true today. Make a decision that has an impact for generations: the gift of an education.
Give to the Last Dollar Scholarship and help students, just like Cheyenne, make a better tomorrow for their families.