Dawn Baker Awards $2,000 in Scholarships

T’Andre Turner, Dawn Baker, Deborah Stevens
T’Andre Turner, Dawn Baker, Deborah Stevens

Dawn Baker, WTOC-TV News Anchor and Author has awarded two $1,000 scholarships to deserving local students. The annual scholarship, named “The Dawning of a Miracle Scholarship,” was established to recognize young ladies with chronic/ life-threatening illnesses and other hardships.

Dawn was inspired by more than twenty years serving as host of the annual Children’s Miracle Network Telethon, where she has worked closely with families of children with serious illnesses and other hardships. The expenses that these families incur often make it difficult and sometimes impossible for the children to achieve their dreams of going to college. Since the scholarship was established in 2012, four young ladies have been awarded scholarships. This year’s recipients are Savannah Arts Academy graduating seniors, T’Andre Char’ya Turner and Deborah LaFaye Stevens. Each received $1,000.

T’Andre Turner was born with a cleft lip and cleft palate, leaving her unable to eat or drink. As a result, she has endured more than 15 surgeries since birth, including bone marrow transplants, jaw surgery and many other surgeries. In spite of her lifelong health challenges, she has maintained an 88.2 grade point average. Her teachers say that she is intelligent, dedicated, dependable, trustworthy, hard-working and caring. These are just some of the reasons why T’Andre is deserving of this scholarship. “I feel very grateful, and I am excited and thankful for getting the scholarship,” T’Andre said. She plans to attend Savannah College of Art and Design and study animation.

The second recipient is Deborah Stevens. In spite of being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis four years ago, this brave young lady has persevered. “Whether it’s struggling to climb all the stairs at school, or enduring the frustration of vertigo or double-vision, being diagnosed with M.S. has reminded me each day that I am blessed, loved and strong,” Deborah added.

Many teachers describe her as tenacious, determined and committed to her studies. Teachers also said that she is a leader and an “over-comer” who triumphs in adversity. She is truly an inspiration to everyone she meets. Deborah is graduating with a 90.5 grade point average and plans to attend Valdosta State University this fall to study music therapy. “It’s just a great honor. I didn’t think that I’d be getting this many awards and everything, but it’s really a great accomplishment finishing my high school year,” Deborah said.

“These brave ladies are not allowing their health conditions to stand in the way of making their dreams come true. They can teach all of us about perseverance and what it means to succeed in spite of the odds. These young ladies, and all of the scholarship recipients throughout the last four years, inspire me every day,” Dawn Baker added.

The Dawning of a Miracle Scholarship is administered by the Savannah Community Foundation, Inc. Applications are sent to all Chatham County public and private school counselors in January of every year. Scholarships are awarded at the end of the school year. To learn more about the scholarship, please visit the website: www.dawnbakeronline.com/scholarship.

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