Her best friend was going to an all-girls school, and Zoe had intended to join her. But then Zoe decided she should “choose a school because it is right for me. Taking that path was the best decision of my life. I met people that I want to be friends with for life and teachers that have inspired me to work hard even in the darkest times.” Those dark times included the death of her father. In a very moving essay, Zoe wrote that she had always been the anchor of her group of friends, ready with a smile and not sharing her feelings, but that the loss of her father made her realize how important it is to recognize and share emotions. Strikingly, even during the time when she was helping deal with her father’s illness, her academic standing continued to rise each year, and she will graduate in the top tenth of her class. A sense of community is one of the things that attracted her to Scholarship Plus. “Adjusting to life as a freshman in college during a pandemic is uncharted territory,” she wrote, “and I would love to have a reliable support system.” In her eventual career, Zoe wants “to be happy and doing something I love.” She is considering becoming a clinical child psychologist. 

As her Teacher Who Made a Difference, Zoe chose Dawn Maniglia, her sophomore English teacher. “I was also a proud member of her book club for all four years,” Zoe wrote. “Ms. Maniglia was always interested in how I was doing and her passion for literature created an environment where I could further explore my interest in writing.” 

Many thanks to Sony Music Group for sponsoring Zoe through her college journey.