On June 7, 2013, Dawn Baker presented the second The Dawning of a Miracle Scholarship to Nia Dawson, the daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Arthur Dawson. When Dawn wrote her book, Dawn’s Daughter: Everything A Woman Needs To Know, a self-help book for teen and young adult females, she decided to give a portion of the proceeds toward a scholarship for young ladies who suffer from chronic/ lifethreatening illnesses. Dawn was inspired by her more than 20 years serving as host of the annual Children’s Miracle Network Telethon, where she works closely with families who have children with serious illnesses. The scholarship is an annual $1,000 academic scholarship for chronically-ill graduating senior young ladies who plan to pursue an education at a four-year college or university. Dawn says, “For years, I have wondered how every day, working class parents with chronically-ill children begin to think about how they will pay for those children’s college education,” says Baker.
This dynamic scholarship recipient is an honor graduate of Savannah Arts Academy and maintained a 3.97 grade point average in spite of enduring a rare condition, known as POTS – an abnormal functioning of the autonomic nervous system. This brave young lady describes POTS as a thief who took away most of her sophomore and junior years. Nia also became paralyzed and had to learn how to walk again. She held on to her “A” average by using skype from her hospital bed whenever possible so that she would not miss school. One teacher shared with the scholarship committee that once Nia realized that POTS made it harder for her to comprehend things in the morning hours she started recording her morning lectures and often took some of those classes a second time in the afternoons so that she would not miss out on class participation credit. “I have been through a lot these last couple of years and it has taken me a long road to get where I am. I am truly excited and ready to see what life has in store for me,” adds Nia Dawson.
“The sky is certainly the limit for Nia. She doesn’t accept pity, but sets the bar as she continues to inspire her peers as well as just about everyone who learns about her story. She is nothing short of amazing,” explains Baker. “POTS taught me to cast out self-doubt and fear, and I know I can emerge from any turbulent situation,” says Dawson. That’s a lesson all of us can learn from this young survivor. Nia plans to major in Psychology at Howard University in the fall.
The first The Dawning of a Miracle Scholarship recipient, Aijalon Lawrence, is an engineering major at Armstrong Atlantic State University. “I am deeply honored to play a small part in these brilliant, courageous young ladies’ journeys. I want to thank my community for supporting me by purchasing my book, making donations and supporting my Movement in the Park (a health and wellness fair scholarship fundraiser). Without your support, my dreams would not come true. Together, we are making a huge difference and changing lives!” says Baker.
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 in June. To learn more about the scholarship, go to www.dawnbakeronline.com/scholarship.