ACPA Announces 2021 College Scholarship Winners!

Adam LevyACPA Family Services News

ACPA Family Services awards college scholarships annually to outstanding students born with cleft or craniofacial conditions. Award recipients are selected by the ACPA Family Services Committee based on past academic performance, evidence of leadership and/or community and school involvement, indications of future academic success and the applicant essay. ACPA is pleased to announce the winners of the 2021 College Scholarships.

This year’s winners are:

Grace Davenport (Randall/LaRossa College Scholarship-Honors Award)

With aid from the Randall/LaRossa College Scholarship, I intend on completing my BS in biology at James Madison University. After earning a graduate degree, I plan to work abroad as a prenatal genetic counselor in underprivileged cleft communities. Who better to conduct cleft genetic screening than a cleft patient? Growing up, I experienced the social, physical and mental challenges associated with a cleft birth defect.

When a mom’s unborn baby is diagnosed with a similar defect, I can share my unique perspective. Anyone can hold her hand, but only few can empathize the way I can. Awarding me the Randall/LaRossa College Scholarship is not only an investment in my education, but an investment in the future of cleft patient care.

Addison Pool (Randall/LaRossa College Scholarship-General Award)

Though born with several health complications, I have been able to lead a relatively normal life. My early years were filled with struggles and unknowns as I overcame many surgeries, learned to hear with a unique hearing device, and spent many days in the hospital. As a toddler, I created my own sign

language to communicate with my family before I was physically able to speak. At the age of four, I started a normal preschool program. I began to excel in school, keeping up with, or surpassing, my peers, despite early health complications, and I have not looked back. As of now, I have had 21 surgeries with a 22nd impending. Though I could have let these surgeries and medical complications hinder my ability to live a normal life, my medical struggles have shaped me into the strong person I am today.

I am going to attend Texas A&M University and study allied health. After getting my prerequisites, I hope to get accepted into Texas A&M’s nursing school and pursue neonatal nursing. Because I have been awarded this scholarship, I can save toward nursing school in the future allowing me to pursue a nursing

career without excessive student loans. Further, I will be able to attend a graduate school to become a neonatal nurse practitioner with the money I put aside that would have otherwise had to go to my current college education. In all, I am thankful for the scholarship that I have received from ACPA and it will certainly go to good use as I continue on my path to becoming a healthcare provider.

Amanda David (Randall/LaRossa College Scholarship-General Award)

Hi! I’m Amanda, and I’ll be starting my first term at the University of Texas at Dallas this fall. I plan on majoring in speech-language pathology and hope to work in the health center on campus! While there may be some social disadvantages to having a cleft lip and palate, my experiences with bullies is what’s inspired me to work in speech pathology. I’m really excited to pursue a career that promotes confidence in people with communication disorders and spreads the message that all voices and opinions should be equally respected!

I’m very grateful to the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association for granting me this scholarship. Not only will it help cover the (extremely) expensive cost of university; it’s also given me a new perspective on my birth defect. Knowing that there are organizations dedicated to supporting and

spreading awareness about people like me makes me feel empowered rather than alone. I’ve only recently learned to love my cleft lip and the unique experiences it’s blessed me with, and recognition from the ACPA maximized this newfound optimism. The generosity of the ACPA has helped ensure my education at UTD, giving me the resources I need to achieve my dream of becoming a speech-language pathologist!

Arielle Perez (Randall/LaRossa College Scholarship-Vocational Award)

Being born with a cleft palate and as well as a genetic condition isn’t an ideal look for a child but later on, I discovered that was my true beauty. It was a difficult journey to go through but 22 surgeries. But many doctors visits later, I pulled through and I’m stronger than ever. My new destiny is now attending college and this scholarship has made it even more possible to go. Trying to get everything done was stressful and I had to get stuff like financial aid, apply to different universities, get grades done, meetings with my college advisors, and having breakdowns about if I would be able to afford college. However, when I received the email about me getting accepted to receive this scholarship, it made all my worries go away.

This scholarship is going to help me pay off the final amount of the gap I need to cover for me to attend my university. It has made me proud to be a child born with a cleft palate because I can show others nothing is impossible to achieve your goals and this reward is truly a blessing. The university I will be attending is the University of Texas at Dallas and I will major in visual and Performing art. This school has been a dream of mine to go to. From the moment I first toured there, I knew right away that this is the university I will be attending and it was truly love at first sight. It had everything I wanted it to be a dream school for me and I know I have more years in my life to enjoy, but this is only the beginning and I cannot wait to get started.