By Clay Coleman
VANDALIA—Olivia Bybee, a senior at Van-Far High School, was surprised last Tuesday with a “full-ride” presidential scholarship to Columbia College, located in Columbia, Mo.
To be eligible for a presidential scholarship, applicants must maintain a 3.6 or higher GPA, score a minimum of 26 on the ACT’s, have two letters of recommendation, and perform volunteer work in the community.
Bybee will receive almost $100,000 towards a four-year degree at Columbia, where she will attend nursing school.
“I’ve always been interested in nursing,” said Bybee. “I grew up the oldest of seven children, so I’m used to taking care of others. Eventually, I want to specialize in neonatal medicine.”
But keeping everything a secret from Bybee was no easy task. Initially scheduled to receive her check on Feb. 13, the award ceremony was postponed because of snow and a national holiday.
“We kept the circle of people in the know, small,” said Sara Bybee, Olivia’s mother. “Still, postponing didn’t help. Olivia kept asking why her friends were receiving acceptance letters, and she wasn’t.”
Ultimately, the weather cooperated, and Bybee was presented with her check, surrounded by family, friends, and the Van-Far staff.
“We couldn’t be more proud of her,” said Sara. “Being a caregiver is a part of Olivia. She is a caring soul.”