2013 Sophia L. Gokey Scholarship Recipients
We are happy to announce three more exceptional Sophia L. Gokey Scholars in our fourth year of scholarships. These remarkable young people demonstrate what is possible with their service, perseverance and academic excellence. They are truly worthy of a scholarship in Sophia’s name!
Shaina Ghuraya. Elk Grove, CA
“I have not let my disability define me, because I have ambitions that guide me and dreams that inspire me.” At the age of four, Shaina was diagnosed with a rare degenerative muscle disease of Spinal Muscular Atrophy. While Shaina accepts that being in a wheelchair is part of her life, she has taught others how to treat her like any other—she was named to her school’s honor program, convinced a reluctant employer to give her a chance and she has been an intern in the State Sacramento “State Legi-School Real World Civics” summer program. Shaina’s volunteer projects include setting up a Haiti Relief Fundraiser and tutoring long-term patients at Shriners Hospital for Children.
Brianna Pelch. Edgar, WI.- While Brianna was diagnosed with severe Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, her family also struggles with another family member with advanced Cystic Fibrosis. While still in high school, Brianna has volunteered to be a Big Sister for the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program of NC WI. In addition, she has been a Big Buddy at her elementary school. She also is working at Marshfield Clinic as a Youth Net Mentor.
Sophia’s Heart Foundation was inspired by the life of an extraordinary woman whose love of children overflowed and touched the lives of countless others. Sophia Gokey was a compassionate woman who, despite her heart condition, remained full of optimism, energy and selflessness. Our Sophia L. Gokey Scholarship recipients embody the same kind of heart and determination that Sophia possessed.