Previously published in the 2018 Ouachitonian yearbook.
With an application in hand, Isaiah was ready to face what might have been the biggest scholarship opportunity he had ever received. Later, Isaiah’s face lit up with a smile as he was given the chance to win a grand total of $100,000 in scholarship money through the Dr. Pepper Tuition Giveaway scholarship program.
Isaiah Merritt, a freshman theatre arts major from Houston, Texas, always enjoyed school and the opportunities given to him through being an involved student. Because of his involvement in high school, he decided that college was the right path for him to take, but he needed to figure out a way to be able to afford college first. That was when he came across the Dr. Pepper Tuition Giveaway scholarship program. Merritt decided to take a chance and apply for the scholarship.
“I applied because it gives everyone a chance, and I liked that idea, even if it were to mean that someone else got chosen over me,” Merritt said.
Whether college was paid for by this scholarship or not, Merritt was determined to apply for his chance to win because he knew he wanted to pursue his many passions in college. Merritt’s commitment to his many passions kept him motivated to apply for the Dr. Pepper Tuition Giveaway.
“The process was simple but very challenging,” Merritt said. “I had to get at least 50 people to vote for me on Facebook. I got a little over 90, if I can remember correctly. That was the hardest part to me because it took me out of my comfort zone as I asked not only friends and family but the community as well. Then I had to record a 60-second video explaining why I wanted and needed the scholarship. Of all selected, I was the only high school student.”
While he didn’t win the grand prize of $100,000, he was still in the running for smaller amounts of scholarship money. All he needed was $20,000 to attend Ouachita. He was determined to get it, and he did.
“I learned that God has a better plan for me, better than my own plan. It’s amazing how He works. Four years ago, the first college booth I approached was Ouachita Baptist University. Winning only $20,000 allowed me to realize that God loves me so much that He wanted me to attend this campus with an agenda in mind for me,” Merritt said. “In life, you just gotta let go of your vision and grab ahold of God’s.”
By Kailee Morehart
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