Last February Tyresha Parker received one of the best emails that she can remember.
"I was in my dorm room and the email explained that I was a grand prize winner in the 2015 CIAA Essay Contest," Parker said. "I immediately called to see if it was true and the woman on the other end confirmed that I was winner. I broke down in tears. It was just amazing."
What some of her professors and friends maybe did not know was that the $5,000 scholarship now gave Tyresha the time to stop working one of three part-time jobs so she could complete her senior year at Winston-Salem State University.
Before that time her grandfather, Leroy Parker, had paid for her three years of school, but he passed as she entered her senior year.
"This scholarship definitely helped me to focus more in school," Parker said. "When you pray for something and then it comes, it's just amazing.
Tyresha's winning essay focused on how WSSU changed her life and helped her to achieve her dreams of being an outstanding writer and author.
Winston-Salem State University was always a dream and lifetime destination for Tyresha. A lot of her extended family attended the CIAA School and have landed successful careers since graduating. One of her cousins is a registered nurse and professor in Virginia and another cousin has a successful career in the communications field.
Since leaving WSSU with a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism last May with a 3.0 G.P.A., Tyresha is now working as a flight attendant with Gojet Airlines in Raleigh, N.C. The 22 year old also is set to go into basic training with the U.S. Navy later this spring.
"I just want to thank Food Lion and Coke for everything," she said. "Sponsoring an essay such as this stresses the importance of writing, which I think is becoming a lost art with this generation. The essay contest forces students to find the right words to say to explain themselves."
Once she finishes her stint with the Navy, she hopes to continue on her journey of writing books to help teenage girls needing advice on how to navigate successfully through poverty.
"I had to figure a lot of for myself so I am hoping that I can help other young girls who are going through the same thing as I did."
For further information: Benny L. Smith, APR: 704-310-4077; email@example.com