As Hannah Weaver sat gazing at her computer screen in the early-morning hours, the minutes seemed to feel like hours, the hours seemed to feel like days.
Every few moments, she would “refresh” the Web page, hoping to finally find out what she had been waiting up all night to see: the scores of her latest SAT exam. Weaver, a Spencerport resident, had taken the test three times, the latest of which took place just 17 days earlier on her father’s birthday.
For her, getting a good score meant the difference between receiving and not receiving the Excellence in Education Scholarship at Alfred State, which required at the time, among other things, a 1250 combined critical reading/writing and math SAT score. The scholarship itself meant that Weaver would not have to rely on her parents to help pay for college.
Finally, at around 5 a.m. the results were posted, and Weaver, only a couple of hours away from having to go to class, looked at her score through bleary, heavy-lidded eyes: a 1270.
She had done it.
“I didn’t know that neither of my parents had slept that night either, so I went downstairs to see if anyone was awake,” she said. “I found my father asleep on the couch; he had stayed up all night, knowing how nervous I was. I shook him awake, and when I saw his eyes open, I said, ‘I did it, dad!’ He was not even fully awake, but tears formed in his eyes as he responded, ‘Really?’ We both started crying tears of absolute joy.”
Seconds later, Weaver heard her mom come down the stairs.
“She had heard me run downstairs from my room and had an inkling of what was going on,” she said. “As soon as I told her, she embraced me in the greatest hug I have received to this day. My parents had never been so proud of me. It was the greatest day of my life.”
Weaver and her parents had fallen in love with Alfred State just one month prior during an Open House visit to the college. After that, she knew Alfred State was the right place for her.
Not wanting to place a financial burden on her parents, however, Weaver had set her sights on the Excellence in Education Scholarship, which allows for free tuition, room, and board.
Having met the scholarship’s other criteria, all that was left was to receive a 1250 SAT score. With only three weeks to prepare for the exam, Weaver took an online SAT preparatory course, putting in 60 hours of work during that time.
In the three weeks between taking the test and receiving her score, Weaver’s parents were encouraging, ensuring her that they would find a way to help her pay for college if she didn’t receive the scholarship.
“I would have had to rely on my parents to go to college, and I didn’t want that,” she said, noting that her mom is still paying off her own graduate school loans. “My parents are the most selfless, hard-working individuals I have ever encountered in my life.”
To say, then, that receiving the scholarship was a joyous moment and a relief for Weaver would be an understatement.
“It was an incredible weight off my shoulders,” said Weaver, who is now majoring in business administration and minoring in leadership. “To be able to do exactly what I want to do and not have to worry about money is great. Most people my age, it’s all they worry about.”
Since becoming an Alfred State student last fall, Weaver has described her experience as “wonderful,” noting she has made many new friends, taken a number of interesting classes, and has had “so many incredible professors that genuinely care about each and every student.”
Feeling appreciative, Weaver recently penned what started as a thank-you note and became a four-page letter to Alfred State President Dr. Skip Sullivan, thanking him and the college for helping her achieve her goals.
In the closing of her letter, she expressed just how thankful she is for the Excellence in Education Scholarship and Alfred State: “I am so beyond grateful for this amazing opportunity you have presented me with. Thank you so much for giving me so much to be thankful for, and for helping me achieve my wildest dreams.”