Maria Solis: USF Pay it Forward Scholarship finalist

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – WANE 15 is proud to once again partner with the University of Saint Francis for the school’s Pay it Forward scholarship. Last year, Adams Central High School student Kevin Brown was the winner of the four-year all tuition paid scholarship.

This year there are once again three finalists and a Bishop Luers student is among them.

“Careful with the eggs. There ya go,” said Maria Solis as she helped a group of youngsters stock food at the Community Harvest Food Bank. “I love serving. Wherever I need to go to help I go there.”

The Bishop Luers 12th grader has been volunteering at the food bank for two years and her reasons are personal. “I volunteer here because a long time ago the food bank fed my family,” she reflected “Yes, the food bank actually fed my family and a way for me to return that is by serving here. I like to help. I feel connected.”

Maria uses that connectivity as a servant leader to guide others who also volunteer at the food bank, including her younger brother and sister. They give back to an organization that helped them more than 10 years ago.

“I’m the oldest of five,” said Maria. “I’m a faith-filled person. I am Catholic. I like my faith. I like working with others and I think St. Francis does a good job of implementing those things.”

Maria wants to attend the University of Saint Francis because of the school’s Pay it Forward philosophy. As a finalist for the Pay it Forward scholarship she’s still trying to soak in the surprise. “I am so thankful because I didn’t think I was going to make it this far. Especially when I applied for the scholarship. I didn’t really think I was going to make it to the finalists.”

Maria said a career in the medical field is her goal. “I want to go into nursing because I like helping others, that’s what I’m about. But I don’t just want to do nursing. I want to be able to travel with it. I want to be able to go to other countries someday and give those services to others who perhaps don’t have the opportunity to get medical services. That’s my long term goal to do something with that major.”

“At the food bank, I get tired sometimes yes. But I have that thing in me that just wants to keep going. This is like my home,” said Maria.

“We’re here to serve others. God has made us to work and help others. When you work together you make something different, you cause a difference.”

WANE 15 and the University of Saint Francis will announce the four-year full ride scholarship winner and the two partial scholarship winners later this month.

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