Elementary school employee surprised with $10k scholarship

KINGSPORT, TN (WJHL)- Thursday morning an employee at Kennedy Elementary School in Kingsport got a $10,000 surprise.

Instructional Assistant Chandar Smith thought she was going to an assembly with the rest of the school for end of the year awards. But then a special guest showed up. Dr. Kim Estep, the chancellor of Western Governor’s University-Tennessee, a non-profit online university, surprised Smith with a $10,000 scholarship. When Estep called her name her eyes immediately filled with tears.

“Overwhelmed, I’m still kind of shaky, it was a huge surprise so my heart’s still racing really fast,” Smith said.

Smith is one of seven Tennesseans out of more than 300 applicants to receive the scholarship this year, according to Estep.

“It means a lot because it means I can finish my degree without having to take out anymore loans…It means I get a chance to have my masters degree, so I’m super, super excited,” Smith said.

Smith said this scholarship will cover all costs involved in getting her degree. She said her dream is to have her own inclusive special education class.

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