Katie Higgins Memorial Scholarship  

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Katie Higgins Memorial Scholarship

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Adopting a Child with
a Cleft

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Cleft Palate

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What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters...
compared to what lies within us.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

What may seem like simple words spoken long ago by the worldly Ralph Waldo Emerson have never more accurately described a person as they do Katie Higgins. Everyone has a choice to take a challenging situation and not let it define you. Like most children with a cleft lip and palate, Katie had to undergo several corrective surgeries but this never prevented Katie from seizing opportunities presented to her. Even at a young age Katie could be found engaging in many activities such as riding horses, water skiing and tubing, and playing barefoot in the yard with her two sisters.

In high school, Katie challenged herself academically by taking Advanced Placement courses in History, Government and Calculus to prepare herself for the rigors of a collegiate workload. Despite the heavy coursework, Katie found a way to give back to her school community and peers around her. She participated in the Spanish club for two years, Family Career Community Leaders of America for three years, the Model General Assembly in her senior year and Fellowship of Christian Athletes in her senior year.

In 2005, Katie became the first recipient of the Virginia Smiles College Scholarship. She participated in the Blue Ridge Community College transfer program to later attend James Madison University, earning a Bachelors Degree in Social Work.

Katie's altruistic spirit was evident in all that she did. It was apparent in the love and support she provided her family and friends. It was seen in the way she worked with her patients and colleagues at Western State Hospital.

Katie passed away in 2013. In her memory, the Virginia Smiles Scholarship has been renamed the Katie Higgins Memorial Scholarship.

For 2016, Katie Higgins Memorial Scholarship will award a $1,000 Scholarship.

  • The student must be a resident of Virginia and born with a cleft;
  • The student must be registered to attend an accredited post-secondary educational institution;
  • The student must submit a completed application form. To print the application form, CLICK HERE.
  • The student must submit a 500 word essay explaining why he/she deserves to be awarded the scholarship.
  • The student must attend the Virginia Smiles Annual Family Picnic to receive the award, prepare a short acceptance speech, and talk with other families of children born with a cleft.

Deadline for submission is May 1, 2016

Previous Virginia Smiles Scholarship Recipients:
2013: Michael Cox Jr, James Madison University and Anna Grishaw, Sewanee University
2012: Sam Rosen, Bowling Green state University
2011: John Mahaney, Shenandoah University
2010: No award
2009: Josh Duncan, Virginia Community College Transfer Program
2008: Kyle Speers, Eastern Mennonite University
2007: Maria Summers, Randolph Macon College
2006: Steven Richard Day, Virginia Polytech Institute
2005: Katie Higgins, Blue Ridge Community College Transfer Program

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