Wilmington Area High School Student Ardavia Lee Surprised with $25,000 Scholarship from Sallie Mae

Lee, a Senior at Saint Elizabeth High School, Was Awarded Sallie Mae’s Bridging the Dream Scholarship

Scholarship Recognizes High School Juniors and Seniors Who Excel Inside and Outside the Classroom

Monday, February 4, 2019 3:49 pm EST



Public Company Information:

"I am both honored to have been selected for this scholarship and humbled to receive it from the Rocha family and Sallie Mae"

NEWARK, Del.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Ardavia Lee, a senior at Saint Elizabeth High School, was surprised with a $25,000 Bridging the Dream Scholarship from Delaware-headquartered Sallie Mae, the nation’s saving, planning, and paying for college company. Lee, who assumed she was only a finalist for the scholarship, was revealed as the winner during an event at the Chase Center in front of her family, members of the Wilmington Fire Department, elected and community leaders, previous scholarship recipients, and hundreds of Sallie Mae employees. Lee was also surprised with congratulatory videos from all three members of Delaware’s congressional delegation.

Sallie Mae’s Bridging the Dream Scholarship recognizes high school juniors and seniors who excel in academics, athletics, community service, or school activities, but whose financial circumstances may not permit them to fulfill their college dreams. Lee is one of only seven recipients from across the country. A model of resiliency, Lee is the daughter of fallen Wilmington Firefighter Lt. Ardythe “Ardy” Hope who died in 2016 fighting a fire in Canby Park. Despite the enormous setback, she has excelled in the community, the classroom, and on the court. School counselor Shannan Beck, who nominated Lee for the scholarship, was by her side for the surprise announcement.

“Ardavia is an exceptional young lady who has shown incredible strength and resilience, an unlimited capacity for achievement, and an unwavering commitment to service to others,” said Shannan Beck, director of counseling services, Saint Elizabeth High School. “I am pleased to have played a small role in assisting such an admirable and promising young woman as she pursues her post-secondary education goals.”

Following in her mother’s footsteps, Lee is dedicated to helping others, completing more than 100 hours of community service in the last three years. She has maintained a 3.94 GPA, and thrives in both volleyball and basketball, where she loves motivating her teammates. Lee’s goal is to continue to help people as she follows her dream of going to law school.

The Delaware Bridging the Dream Scholarship honors the legacy of former executive, and architect of the Bridging the Dream Scholarship Program, Charlie Rocha. The Rocha family was on hand to announce Lee as the recipient.

“I am both honored to have been selected for this scholarship and humbled to receive it from the Rocha family and Sallie Mae,” said Ardavia Lee. “The importance of working hard, doing your best, and being of service to others are values that were instilled in me by my parents. To be nominated and ultimately rewarded for living my core values means everything.”

Since 2016, Sallie Mae has awarded nearly half a million dollars in scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students through the Bridging the Dream Scholarship Program, including more than $125,000 raised directly by employees through various fundraising activities.

“Our mission at Sallie Mae is grounded in helping aspiring minds achieve the lives they imagine and that starts with making the dream of a higher education a reality,” said Raymond J. Quinlan, Chairman and CEO, Sallie Mae. “I am extremely proud of the investments we are making in tomorrow’s leaders and if Ardavia and the other Bridging the Dream Scholarship recipients with us today are any indication of what’s to come — the future looks bright.”

For more information about Sallie Mae’s Bridging the Dream Scholarships, visit SallieMae.com/BridgingTheDream, or join the conversation by using #BridgingTheDream.

For more information about saving, planning, and paying for college, visit SallieMae.com.

Sallie Mae (Nasdaq: SLM) is the nation’s saving, planning, and paying for college company. Whether college is a long way off or just around the corner, Sallie Mae offers products that promote responsible personal finance, including private education loans, free scholarship search tools, free college financial planning tools, and online retail banking. Learn more at SallieMae.com. Commonly known as Sallie Mae, SLM Corporation and its subsidiaries are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.

Multimedia Files:

Bridging the Dream Scholarship recipient and St. Elizabeth High School senior Ardavia Lee is surrounded by family, Sallie Mae executives, and her school counselor, who nominated her for the scholarship. (Photo: Business Wire)


Antoine L. Oakley
(302) 509-9464