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Arkansas teen overcomes health problems to receive big college scholarship

India Hayes is a soon-to-be college freshman, overcoming a variety of health issues including heart complications and a hearing disability during her journey.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — As back-to-school week continues, college campuses are flocked with new students filled with hopes and dreams for the future. The only thing bigger than the excitement can be the price tag of admission.

The dream for many high school seniors is to soon be a college freshman, but living the dream doesn’t come cheap as recent graduate India Hayes knows

“I think whether our parents realize it or not they talk about the finances a lot. So, it kind of gets embedded that I need to do something,” Hayes said.

Hayes is a recent honor graduate of E-Stem high school. This is a goal that she accomplished while battling a variety of health issues including heart complications and a hearing disability.

“My teachers, they were worried about me honestly. They said we never see you in class, where are you?,” she said. 

Hayes was forced to work twice as hard-- a work ethic that caught the eye of Doris Washington, President of the Oscar Washington Jr. Educational Fund.

“You’ve heard a little bit about her story and her challenges. However, I think the thing that drove us most about India was her drive,” Washington said. 

The foundation provides scholarships to students to honor the legacy of Doris’ late husband Oscar. This was an opportunity that Hayes was immediately drawn to.

“This year I got the email, and I was like 'okay!' I was just so excited,” Hayes said.

She received The Hope Scholarship, where she will receive a total of $60,000 over the next four years.

“That drive inside us is what makes us successful and we saw that in India and we wanted to reward her with that,” Washington said. 

India is set to attend Hendrix College in Conway where she’ll major in psychology.

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